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Tourism to create business development unit for entrepreneurs

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is preparing to launch a business development unit that will help entrepreneurs to build business ideas that will create authentic experiences for tourists in this country.

Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu, speaking at the Rotary Club of South East Nassau’s weekly meeting, told the club that the business development unit’s “sole mission will be dedicated to providing local entrepreneurs with viable tourism business ideas”.

Since coming to office three months ago, new Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar has touted the creation of more entrepreneurs to service and grow the tourism sector, which has been stagnant for 20 years.

Yesterday, Jibrilu revealed that tourism is serious about this new commitment, lamenting that The Bahamas has been “failing in providing” experiences for tourists.

“This unit will provide support in fine-tuning business ideas, marketing and promotion and it is hoped that eventually, putting entrepreneurs in contact with providers of capital for investment,” she said.

“The unit will put on trade exhibitions to display products and bring vendors, buyers and money lenders together in one location.”

She said last year tourism and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association promoted the Tru Tru Bahamian marketplace experience, which caused relationships between local vendors and resorts to spawn and thrive.

“People had contracts given to them that might have never happened,” said Jibrilu.

Part of this initiative will also entail the redevelopment of downtown Nassau which the director general said “we should all be ashamed of” in its “current state”.

And between the development of products and the revitalization New Providence’s city center, she said The Bahamas will be providing tourists something they are now “demanding” of destinations they visit – authentic, valuable experiences.

Jibrilu said D’Aguilar is currently engaged with tourism stakeholders downtown, to see when a revitalization can begin in earnest.

“It is a priority to upgrade and improve our main street where people want to return to again and again,” she said.

According to Jibrilu, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) recently revealed to the Ministry of Tourism that 90 percent of cruise ship passengers disembark the ship to wander the city and engage in on-shore activities. She hopes tourism’s new initiatives can cause the spend of cruise passengers to increase from $69 to $89 in the next few years, which will inject an extra $90 million into The Bahamas’ economy.

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