The Bahamas must develop more authentic cultural experiences, Tourism Minister Chester Cooper said on Friday during a tour of Junkanoo Beach.
He explained that while discerning travelers can find beaches and sunshine anywhere, there is only one place to find the Bahamian experience.
An authentic cultural experience like Junkanoo Beach is the type of thing that tourists want when they come here,” said Cooper.
“They might stay in a five-star resort, but they don’t want to stay there the whole time. They may come and they may stay in an all-inclusive like Sandals. They would have paid for everything, but they don’t want to stay there every day. They don’t want to eat the food that they’ve paid for every day all day, so they want to come out and experience places like Junkanoo Beach.
“Therefore it’s important that we manage these markets well, that we provide an authentic Bahamian experience, that we provide food that’s uniquely Bahamian.”
According to Cooper, creating these cultural linkages and turning them into viable products for the tourism industry is the fastest way to empower Bahamians.
There has been a long-standing debate over what Bahamian culture really is, but Cooper pointed to the selling of land crab, and not snow crab or any other foreign crab, at a Junkanoo Beach restaurant that pipes Bahamian music into its establishment as a good start to the authentically Bahamian experience.
“This is what we need to deepen the tourism product,” he said.
“We can go many places for sun, sand and sea. We cant go anywhere else for Bahamian culture and Bahamian food and Bahamian music that we heard here today.”