By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
A CAMPAIGN which aims to ‘touch the world’ is being planned to promote The Bahamas as the world’s top cruise destination.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe revealed the plan speaking on board Carnival Cruise Lines’ Breeze liner after its inaugural arrival into Nassau yesterday.
The vessel will visit Nassau every Friday for the next six months and is expected to contribute more than $6 million to the economy.
“We’re going to be introducing a marketing strategy in the first week of January that’s going to be spectacular and we’ve never done it before, but it’s going to touch the world,” he said.
“We believe that we’re going to be able to do some things we’ve never done and we’re going to get the returns. People want The Bahamas. What we have to do though is work on our product - our product has to be at the highest level.
“We are deeply concerned about our product and improving our product to ensure that we deliver to the entire world, the best in the entire world,” Mr Wilchcombe said.
“We want to make sure that we lift our standards to the highest level, whether it’s through customs or immigration, through those persons who work in the port generally, our taxi services, our vendors, our shop owners - all must be a part of this new campaign that intends to deliver the Bahamas as a premier cruise destination in the world.”
He said the cruise industry was expanding and said on one Sunday, some 22,000 visitors were on the ground in one day.
“It tells you we have to now respond to the industry. The vessels are here, we want to make sure that we’re delivering a quality product,” he said. “If we do have one concern, it’s that we have allowed the industry to surpass us, now we have to catch up with the industry and we have to cause for our ports to be better.
“We have to cause for our services to be better and if we intend to be the leaders, we have to deliver that leadership quality. What we find is that the visitor will come, they will spend money, they will be involved, but they’re not going to do it if they don’t believe they’re getting quality. We want to deliver quality, we want to get quality performance for quality service and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
He said year-end tourism growth rate was at about eight per cent which he said was ‘pretty good’ but the ministry is working on improving that figure, he added.