Today, at the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association’s Annual General Meeting, the Hon. Philip Davis KC MP, Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, shared his transformative vision for the nation’s tourism industry, calling for a fundamental paradigm shift.
The Prime Minister underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to redefining the role of Bahamians in the tourism sector. “Our government is dedicated to ensuring that Bahamians are not just participants in this thriving industry, but leaders, innovators, and beneficiaries,” he stated. Emphasizing the need for Bahamians to ascend into senior roles, he declared, “The advancement of Bahamians within tourism is not a mere aspiration but a priority. It’s time for a paradigm shift where our people are not just employees but stakeholders, decision-makers, and pioneers”.
Highlighting the strategic focus beyond attracting visitors, Prime Minister Davis spoke of enhancing the economic impact of tourism. “We are channeling visitor spending into our economy, particularly into local businesses and communities, especially on our family islands,” he noted. He also pointed out the government’s investment in infrastructure, like the Lynden Pindling International Airport expansion, as a testament to their dedication.
In his speech, the Prime Minister described a future where tourism is more inclusive, sustainable, and beneficial for all Bahamians. “We are revamping our tourism model to harness the power of our rich culture and focusing on community-based initiatives,” he explained. Reiterating the need for a seismic shift in approach, he emphasized, “The old ways of doing tourism are no longer viable. We need to focus on the real value and impact of tourism”.
The Prime Minister outlined a two-fold strategy: to sustain and grow tourism numbers and ensure that this growth translates into tangible benefits for every Bahamian. “This involves deepening linkages between tourism and local industries and fostering a symbiotic relationship that supports local businesses and entrepreneurs,” he stated, highlighting the importance of diversification and resilience in the economy.
Addressing the need for tailored experiences, Prime Minister Davis said, “Our tourism product must integrate our historic areas and communities. We must create avenues for tourism dollars to flow deeper into our economy, reaching every Bahamian”. He also stressed the importance of strengthening linkages between tourism and local industries, creating real, tangible connections.
Being candid about the industry’s objectives, he stated, “The Bahamas is in the tourism industry for economic prosperity. It’s not just about visitor numbers; it’s about how much we earn and how these earnings are distributed. Every decision and incentive must align with our economic goals”.
To conclude, Prime Minister Davis’ address marks a significant milestone in the nation’s journey towards a more equitable and prosperous future. His call for a paradigm shift in tourism reflects a deep commitment to not just elevating the industry, but ensuring it serves as a vehicle for national growth and development. The Prime Minister’s vision sets a clear direction for the Bahamas, one where tourism is a conduit for the enrichment and empowerment of every Bahamian, shaping a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.