Minister of Tourism touts ‘significant’ opportunities as Grand Bahama tourism grows


DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper. (File photo)


Tribune Freeport Reporter

DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper said the government is committed to entrepreneurship and will be launching an entrepreneurship symposium around the country, starting in Grand Bahama.

He reported a good turnout at the launch in Grand Bahama recently held at the PLP Headquarters in Freeport.

Mr Cooper, who is also Minister of Tourism, Investment, and Aviation, said there is “significant growth in tourism” on Grand Bahama.

“We had a full house at PLP Headquarters talking about entrepreneurship,” he said last week while in Grand Bahama. “We are taking this entrepreneurship symposium around the country, but we came to GB first. There are some significant opportunities here.”

He said lots of opportunities will come from the airport, and the Grand Lucayan Resort when it is sold.

“The government is committed to entrepreneurship and there is significant growth in tourism on the island of GB,” said Mr Cooper.

“We are doing some interesting things with the airport, and we are working actively still to sell the Grand Lucayan Resort, and we’re optimistic. The reality of where we are is there is significant opportunities, and we want Grand Bahamians to prepare for the opportunities in the medium and near terms.”

In terms of the airport, Mr Cooper said there are potential opportunities for construction.

However, he added: “But the core of the conversation is how we could build more linkages to tourism and cause there to be more successful businesses; how we can take advantage of the large number of tourists coming to the island of GB.”

He said the average number of cruise passenger arrivals to Grand Bahama is 5,000 a day. However, “most of them are staying on the ship,” he said.

He said Ian Ferguson from the Tourism Development Corporation talked about business ideas to help get tourists off the ship, and getting more of the dollar.

Mr Cooper said tourism is everybody’s business. “The reality of where we are at the moment is that we need all of the industries reducing the level of imports to support the tourism industry,” he added.

He said people also heard about how to access funding with the Bahamas Development Bank, Small Business Development Centre, and the Venture Fund.

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