Above: Grand Bahama (CJ Photo – Robert Dipano)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie recently addressed the Grand Bahama Business Outlook, vowing that the island had a strong future.
Citing increased tourism numbers and a half-billion-dollar planned investment by existing business, Christie said that “step by step the economic revitalization of Grand Bahama is steadily gaining momentum.”
“My government is unswerving in its belief that the future of Grand Bahama is bright and that its best days still lie before it, not behind it,” he said.
Christie’s optimism comes as his government has begun efforts to develop a “National Development Plan,” the first of its kind in the Bahamas, and one that would “not be Nassau-centric.”
“Instead, it will involve conversations with Bahamians throughout the length and breadth of the Bahamas,” he said. “We are committed to structure planning that will inevitably result not only in economic growth but in more meaningful and productive human capital development so that Bahamians can become the primary benefactors of this growth both now and in the years to come.”
In the island’s crucial tourism sector, for example, Christie said hotel occupancies had increased by 56 percent and hotel revenues had seen a 33 percent improvement.
“The Lucayan strip should exceed capacity, seeing a level of demand that has been absent since 2004,” the Prime Minister said, also pointing to developments including a new Delta Airlines flight and the burgeoning cruise and stay market.
The latter includes ships like the Grand Celebration, which launched last month, and the new fast ferry by Balearia called Bahama Mama.
“Both the Grand Celebration and the Bahama Mama together are expected to generate more than $42 million dollars in the Grand Bahamian economy and $2.3 million in Government revenues in 2015,” Christie said.