Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper wants to see improved physical infrastructure at Junkanoo Beach, calling the area one of the busiest beaches in The Bahamas.
Following a tour of the area on Friday, Cooper contended that there needs to be more areas across the country where visitors can find authentic local food and fun, but explained that while the current venue has grown into a popular spot as is, it needs to be improved.
“This is the type of marketplace that we want to encourage across the country,” Cooper said.
“One of my biggest focuses in my role as minster responsible for tourism is to encourage linkages with tourism and this is a great example of what can happen.
This is the busiest beach in The Bahamas, one of them, given the millions of tourists that come by cruise ship in the immediate vicinity and of course the hotels in the surrounding area.
“This is a great location. It’s well-positioned for Bahamian enterprises. Tourists can come and experience the local food and the typical environment that we would find in a family island across the country, talk with our local population the vendors and other local guests.”
The former Free National Movement administration sought to find a private company to manage the area, however the plan never materialized.
Cooper said the current Junkanoo Beach vendors have an
association that is doing a good job of governing the area. He added though, that one of the concerns vendors have about the area is lighting and security. Cooper said his ministry will speak to the police in the area about security.
In terms of the physical structures that have been randomly erected on the beach, Cooper said the government might look to standardize the infrastructure, though not while vendors are still trying to pick up the pieces from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to do more and more of this kind of development,” he said.
“The Tourism Development Corporation will play a key role in creating these linkages moving forward and therefore this will be one of the greatest missions and mandates of my role as minister of tourism, to cause there to be more linkages, more investment in tourism by Bahamians. We’re seeing a fine example on Junkanoo Beach of what can happen.”