Bahamas Tourism Is Starving


Bahamian tourism is ‘starving’ because it has both failed to develop a unique product, a well-known architect believes, and not invested in creating key ‘attractions’.
Pat Rahming, of Pat Rahming & Associates, told Tribune Business that while the Bahamas had potential tourism product ‘coming out of its ears’, much of it was ‘locked away in a warehouse with three padlocks on it’.
And he explained that rather than focus on developing one-of-a-kind ‘attractions’, the Bahamas had instead concentrated the bulk of its tourism investments in the infrastructure that supported them – accommodation (hotels) and transportation.
Pointing to the ‘dilapidated’ state of Nassau’s few land-based attractions, such as the forts and Water Tower, Mr Rahming likened Bahamian tourism to a shop with little inventory on its shelves.
Arguing that ‘attractions’ were the equivalent of tourism’s ‘cash register’, Mr Rahming said of these shortcomings: ‘That’s why we’re losing our shirts, and other people are eating our lunch.’
His thoughts offer a new perspective on why some believe the Bahamas’ tourism competitiveness is slip-sliding away, a perception reinforced by a Tribune Business report last week.
The Tribune reported that stopover visitors’ share of total foreign arrivals to the Bahamas had slipped from around 31-32 per cent pre-recession to around 24-25 per cent for the past four years. In raw terms, this means that high yielding stopover visitors (spending over $1,000 per head) have declined from one out of every three visitors to one out of every four.