By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
MINISTER of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday his ministry was focused heavily on Florida, telling Tribune Business that the Bahamas had lost some market share there.
“Our focus is heavily in the Florida market because we lost some market share in Florida, so the immediate thing to do is go where you have a presence,” said Minister Wilchcombe.
“We are now reassociating ourselves with the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat. We’re talking about the regular season. You’re going to see our presence. We are going to be in a stadium where you have 70,000 at a football game, 20,000 at a basketball game and of course baseball. The whole idea is to get more and more people involved in what we are doing, to get sporting organisations to stage events and to get more people to come to our country,” said Mr Wilchcombe.
The minister said visitor arrivals were up about 7-8 per cent over last year although he said that for him that was not good enough.
“That’s good enough to say we are doing better than we did last year,” said Wilchcombe.
Mr Wilchombe said that more than $100 million could be pumped into the Bahamian economy from sports tourism by 2014, exceeding previous predictions by the ministry of tourism. “Truth is it can be more, it’s what you do,” said Mr Wilchcombe who said the Bahamas was set to host a major golf tournament next year and was also working towards hosting a major tennis event.