The economic impact from an increase in luxury yachts cruising to The Bahamas could become bigger than the impact of other touristic maritime operations, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Joy Jibrilu told Guardian Business on Saturday.
Speaking to this paper on the sidelines of the first annual Bahamas Charter Show, Jibrilu said her ministry is looking at how it can help to grow the yachting industry in The Bahamas and is looking at how it can grow the Bahamas Charter Show in the coming years.
Jibrulu said the occupants of large pleasure yachts can spend up to $250,000 in an economy during a sailing.
“If they choose to sail through The Bahamas that money is going into the community,” she said.
“Events like this boat show shows that we’re constantly looking for innovation.
“It only makes sense that we look to see how we can capture this share of the market.
“This is the first outing and to have over 20 boats of the size that we’re seeing, 80 brokers, 130 crew, everybody in the industry is saying it’s unheard of.
“That speaks to the opportunity to grow phenomenal business and we’re seeing how we can capture really important business.”
One of the founders of the Bahamas Charter Show, Sales Director of Worldwide Boat Sanaa Vohra, said the show has been well received and is being spoken of highly by the brokers who attended the show.
“As you know this is a charter show for our industry of brokers,” said Vohra.
“We have had 85 brokers come from the U.S., Europe and beyond. We have Canadians in the house as well.
“We have had 23 boats participate this year and the yachts are ranging from 50 feet all the way up to 184 feet.
“That was a really great welcome for brokers to have a variety of different choices to look at.
“I have heard words like exhilarating, I have heard words like refreshing, I’ve heard words like new, I’ve heard words like exciting, so those are some of the adjectives that people have used who attended the show.
“Most of all what I have heard is that it has been fun and I think The Bahamas is about that and what we really wanted to do is give them a taste of sounds, food, people and culture from the time they got on, to the time they got off.”
Vohra said some of the brokers have booked charters to The Bahamas before, but had never been to the country until this past weekend.
She contended that the potential for growth of the charter show is endless.
Executive Director of the Association of Bahamas Marinas Basil Smith said the charter show is just one initiative being tried to increase The Bahamas’ presence in “the very lucrative business”.
“People are chartering a boat for a week to take 10 people, and you are paying $175,000 just to get the boat and then you’re paying 50 percent more in spending,” Smith said.
He said there are familiarization trips planned for this year within the industry to further introduce captains and brokers to the waters and islands of The Bahamas.
JUMPLINE: ‘We have had 23 boats participate this year’