Minister sees tourism opportunity from Irma


Tribune Business Reporter

The Minister of Tourism yesterday said the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Irma on Caribbean rivals could create an opportunity for the Bahamas to increase business.

Speaking prior to yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Dionisio D'Aguilar said: "Tourism is a mercenary business. Whereas some of the tourist destinations were wiped out, it seems it creates opportunity for us.

"Mexico put out a message this morning across their booking engines saying that they are open for business. It is important for us and our marketing engines to say we are open for business."

Mr D'Aguilar continued: "The most important message the Bahamas needs to get out is that its major population centres were not damaged. The Ministry of Tourism needs to get the word out that we are open for business, ready for business, and that we had very little damage to our major tourist destinations such as New Providence, Freeport, Abaco and Eleuthera.

"Everyone is hearing destruction in the Caribbean. The hurricane went through the Bahamas and they are thinking that the entire nation was affected. They don't realise that we are an island nation and some islands are not affected."

Mr D'Aguilar said September is a relatively slow month in the tourism sector, adding that visitors whose travel plans were affected by the hurricane may opt to push their vacations back to later in the year.

"We may not get the money now, but I think it's just going to be shifted further down, which is fine because September is a relatively slow month in tourism anyway, and so hopefully those people will shift their holidays down the calendar," he added.

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