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2006-04-05 02:14:12

Tourism Ministry To Target Upscale Black Boaters

Newest goofy idea from the Ministry of Tourism smacks of racism and shows a failure to attract a wider spectrum of boaters.

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) is targeting a new tourist market for Abaco and kicked off activities to attract those visitors recently.

According to news reports from Abaco, the upscale black American boater is the new market the MOT has set its sights on. Although many boaters to the island make up a huge chunk of tourists to Abaco, the focus is on bringing in more African American boaters. A group of black sailors were in Abaco last Friday for the first annual Black Boaters Summit which the MOT has been planning for the last two years.

"This is the first of, I hope, several continuous years of bringing African Americans to the Abacos," said Paul Nixon, Co-ordinator of the Black Group of Boaters.

The group sailed to Abaco on three boats, including a press boat with crew responsible for documenting the group's activities. Mr Nixon also indicated that The Bahamas could receive some good public relations as the footage from Abaco could possibly be aired on American television.

An evening of entertainment was planned for the recreational boaters by the MOT last Friday. Jeritzan Outten, Director of Tourism for Abaco told the boaters in Abaco, "Its really a pleasure to welcome you here. We were looking at planning this for two years. [We] didn't know whether this was going to happen." Ms Outten said of Mr Nixon, "This man was determined."

During an address to the Abaco Chamber of Commerce recently, Minister of State for Finance James Smith said that the Abaco tourism market was expanding as well as it was successful in diversifying.

Further, Mr Smith said that $195 million in foreign direct investment is expected to be injected into that island's economy over the medium term compared with the $129 million in investments that the island has experienced over the last four years.

Mr Smith also said the projected level of investments, including anchor projects, should support over 400 permanent jobs for residents in Abaco.

By: BARRY WILLIAMS, The Nassau Guardian

 
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