President of Tarcon Construction Costa Berdanis yesterday suggested that the government release Crown land for Bahamians to construct vacation home rental properties and incentivize those builds, explaining that during these times, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, that niche in the hospitality sector could eclipse the hotel industry.
Berdanis, who was a guest speaker at yesterday’s Bahamas Business Outlook, explained that there is huge potential in unused Crown land that is not being taken advantage of.
“Airbnb has huge potential that I think can become larger than the hotel industry… I think focusing on Airbnb and assisting people in that Airbnb sector generate a huge surplus of revenue for us in this particular time period,” Berdanis said.
He also called for the government to incentivize local contractors with duty and property tax concessions, which would assist in the creation of construction jobs.
According to Berdanis, the construction industry could be an even bigger boon to the country’s economy if concessions are awarded to local companies, like they are with foreign-backed projects.
“If we can unlock that and gave some incentives that work, I think that you’ll see a lot of construction going on,” he said.
“I think that if we can be ready for the next wave of business, that’s what will put us at the top edge and bring our economy back quicker. If we don’t, we’ll be behind.”
Information released by The Central Bank of The Bahamas revealed that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, vacation home rentals continued to attract local business, bolstering those owners who lost business as the tourism sector began to slump last year.