By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
MARINA operators have seen an increase in business over summer 2012, with the Marina Operators of the Bahamas president (MOB) yesterday telling Tribune Business his Great Harbour Cay Yacht Club and Marina had seen a “phenomenal summer” with a 25 per cent business increase.
“I can speak for myself and the other 60-plus MOB members that yes, this past year was definitely an increase over 2011,” said Joseph Dargavage.
“The summer season of 2012 was definitely an increase over 2011. However, we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of marketing to put out there to continue to grow our market.
“There are lots of people that still have not ventured to the Bahamas that would be perfect clients for all the marinas. Our marinas are the best in the world and we just have to get the message out there,” said the island general manager for the Berry Islands-based resort.
“For me personally at Great Harbor Cay we’re up about 25 per cent over the previous summer. It was a phenomenal summer,” said Mr Dargavage.
“Right now, we are moving into the fall months, which are somewhat quieter in the Bahamas. It gives us a chance to concentrate on some of the marketing ideas. We are working on finalsing a marina operators of the Bahamas map, and listed in that map will be all of the marinas, their facilities and what they have to offer the boating public.
“That map will be put into every fishing and boating guide the Ministry of Tourism sends out for the boating season. In addition to that, one of the biggest marketing tools is the Fort Lauderdale boat show. The Ministry of Tourism, along with the MOB, have a tremendous presence there with an incredible booth that really represents everything in the Bahamas. That will be followed up with the Miami boat show in February,” said Mr Dargavage.
“Long-term, throughout the year we are working to really enhance our partnership with the Ministry of Tourism to really increase fishing tournament participation and group cruises.”
Mr Dargavage said the economy was still one of the biggest challenges for the boating industry.
”We have seen some comeback and growth over the last year and a half from where it had dropped three years ago. I still think the economy and gas prices are affecting the cruising public. We just need to offer up more customer service and bang for the dollar,” said Mr Dargavage.