0

Wilchcombe Sees Us-Cuba Change As An Opportunity

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States provides an “excellent” opportunity for the Bahamas to “focus on improving the quality of our tourism product”.

He added that whenever Cuba completely opens up to the American market, it will no doubt lure tourists with its “mystique” and lower prices.

Mr Wilchcombe told The Tribune that the Bahamas has to ensure that we “tap” into other markets particularly Asia and Russia in order to offset any perceived loss.

His comments came less than a week after US President Barack Obama announced sweeping changes to US policy with Cuba, moving to normalise relations with the island nation and “tear down the last remaining pillar of the Cold War”.

Under the new measures, the US plans to reopen its embassy in Havana and significantly ease restrictions on travel and commerce within the next several weeks and months. The New York Times reported that while the embargo against Cuba remains in place, President Obama has called for “serious debate about lifting it.”

Mr Wilchcombe said he “welcomes” the change and he believes the Bahamas can also benefit from the new arrangement.

“I think for the Bahamas it is a chance for us to focus on improving the quality of our product,” he said.

“We are known as high-end. You have places around like the Dominican Republic that offer lower rates than we do. There is no doubt Cuba will have better rates but we are high-end and we have to ensure that the cost is met with quality. You will find people drifting to Cuba because of the allure, but it is not something that we are concerned about. They were blockaded for more than five decades so there is a mystique, people want to see Cuba today. We have to ensure that we are finding ways to get to the Asian and the Russian markets.”

Mr Wilchcombe said there is also a possibility of doing joint tourism projects with Cuba where tourists can get “two for the price of one.”

He said: “Right now you can fly to the Bahamas and then fly to Cuba but why can’t persons fly to Cuba and then fly here? We can do joint marketing because we consider Cuba a friend and guests can get two for the price of one. We can benefit from their experiences, from their education and health care. Cuba has a lot to offer and we can capitalize on our good relationship with them. I welcome it, and I see it as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Cuba and strengthen our product.”

Last week, addressing parliamentarians in the House of Assembly Prime Minister Perry Christie said the Bahamas must position itself, sooner rather than later, to be a fierce “competitor” with Cuba.

Mr Christie said he spoke to Cuban President Raul Castro last week, who indicated that it would “not be long” before the US embargo against Cuba is lifted. He said he has already started discussions on multi-destination tourism that will benefit both countries.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 6 months ago

Third Lie being worked on as we speak: there is no need to worry about a threat from Cuba. Watch and see.

Wow, this took less that than I thought

provides an “excellent” opportunity for the Bahamas to “focus on improving the quality of our tourism product”.

Our problem is corruption Minister Wilchombe, its granting a contract to a company with the express intent that they deposit money to your account or "donate" to a specific "charity" etc., its giving a job in ministry of tourism for example to a campaign worker who has NO qualifications, work experience or talent to handle the position. You want to position the Bahamas? get rid of production, quality will follow

0

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 6 months ago

"....get rid of corruption, quality will follow"

0

concernedcitizen 4 years, 6 months ago

Ask the Minister how his court case id going against Larry King and CNN ,ask him if he and "not so pleasant "Bridgewater paid back BOB for that failed loan foe universal distributers

0

duppyVAT 4 years, 6 months ago

We allowed ourselves to get too complacent ............. now we are at #5 and falling ........... and still believe we are the best!!!!!!!!

0

Andrewharris 4 years, 6 months ago

Why the hell he idn't think about that 5 years ago. They have to wait for crisis to start thinking. We all knew that Obama was going to open Cuba eventually. I am sure we will be caught with our pants down.

0

Andrewharris 4 years, 6 months ago

Why the hell he idn't think about that 5 years ago. They have to wait for crisis to start thinking. We all knew that Obama was going to open Cuba eventually. I am sure we will be caught with our pants down. Why we didn't do two for the price of one before? Millions of tourist been going to Cuba for years. We could have tapped into that market long ago

0

TheMadHatter 4 years, 6 months ago

You can't do two for the price of BEFORE - because Americans weren't allowed to travel there. While we do have a lot of Canadians coming here, there is not enough to support 2-for-1.

Relax. I must say it sounds like Perry dem got this one under control..

TheMadHatter

0

SP 4 years, 6 months ago

................................... Your Hopelessly Delusional At Best ..........................

Perry dem hasn't had anything under control from day one and certainly have no grip whatsoever on whats about to happen.

With 20+ years hands-on airline, wholesale travel and destination management experience, I can unequivocally tell you Perry dem are just as lost as all before them for the past 40 years.

Bahamas didn't lose market share and fall to number 5 position regionally in 30 years because Perry and Ingraham dem had tings under control.

These idiot genius's better concentrate all efforts fully on creating fun destination resort activities, theme parks, night life, cultural & native shows etc. to our tourism product or Bahamas will continue on this downward spiral.

0

SP 4 years, 6 months ago

......................Absolute unadulterated Malarkey, Smoke and Mirror Bullshyt .......................

Let's Be Frank Here, Ask The Hard questions, Face reality, Facts And Stop The Horseshyt.

Obie Wilchcombe might be a nice guy, but in reality what experience does Obie have in tourism? What profession is Obie really qualified for "when" he is kicked out of politics? In fact what experience did successive "Ministers Of Tourism" have in tourism?

if Obie and the others had any clue what they SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING, why has Bahamas slipped from the number one position in regional tourism to number five....and continue slipping daily?

Firstly, only the USA have a problem with Cuba.... Cuba is already a tourism mecca in it's own right realizing very high annual occupancies from international markets. The fact is, even if fully opened today to U.S. markets, Cuba does not have the capacity to accommodate an increase in tourism to appreciably negatively affect Bahamas market share.

This smoke and mirror bullshyt about joint destination travel between Bahamas and Cuba is total asinine foolishness. If it were possible, the best classic example is Bahamas and Disney Florida. Where is the "joint destination travel".

Joint destination tourism with Cuba is a pipe dream attempt to deflect attention of fools and the ignorant to buy time.

Cuba has it's own family of Islands just as we do, and can offer more for less. Why would they need to consider joint destination tourism with Bahamas when they can have it all?

The Bahamas must "NOW" focus all efforts on developing a resort infrastructure aimed at creating fun activities, theme parks, upgraded & improved points of interest, NIGHT LIFE, NIGHT LIFE, NIGHT LIFE, NIGHT LIFE, NIGHT LIFE, NIGHT LIFE, etc. to dramatically increase in resort spend, which will also create much needed jobs with the added affect of lowing crime.

PGC needs to swallow his pride, forget friends, family and lovers and seriously seek out those many Bahamian entrepreneurs with proposals for theme parks, touristic ventures and other proposals that would positively impact our tourism product.

The end game is PGC will continue to rapidly sink, lose popularity and eventually lose the government with NO CHANCE OF RETURN!

0

TheMadHatter 4 years, 6 months ago

SORRY - but the CHURCH will not allow night life in the Bahamas. They would rather for all of us to be crucified first. And "FUN" for the Church is a four-letter word.

When the bulldozers are finished with the shanty towns, if they could then turn on ALL the church buildings - then we might have a chance of surivial. Their focus is what is going to happen to us after we die. Well, guess what, we have to die first to experience that. Right now we are living (just like Jesus tried to show us when he came here to be like one of us - but they destroyed most of the records, like the ones about him and Mary Magdeline and their children). The church is not about life - but about death.

Those things are fine to concern ourselves with - but not to the exclusion of life itself - and that is what they do.

The Bahamas will die, because it holds on to a philosophy of death. A new church is built just about every other month.

TheMadHatter

TheMadHatter

0

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 6 months ago

Nightlife doesn't necessarily mean hedonism, to me anyway, it just means something interesting to do

0

SP 4 years, 6 months ago

.............................................. What Church ? ......................................

Are you referring to THE GROUP OF LUNATICS running around calling themselves the christian counsel that prophesied GOD himself told them he would bring certain destruction on the Bahamas if government legalized Sunday shopping?

Want to listen to them?.....O.K. then!

1

SP 4 years, 6 months ago

.. FBI Exposes PLP And FNM Use Of "Consultants" To Facilitate Bribery And Corruption ..

http://www.topix.com/forum/world/the-...">http://www.topix.com/forum/world/the-...

This is the main reason our country is in a mess............. PIRATES AT THE HELM !

.............. Mr. Greenslade..........Do your job and send these BASTARDS TO JAIL ..........

0

PKMShack 4 years, 6 months ago

First we can start by cleaning up all the garbage around our city, looks nasty im sure tourist notice

0

Honestman 4 years, 6 months ago

The clock is ticking for The Bahamas. Years of mis-management by successive governments, continued corruption across the whole of society and a growing sense of entitlement amongst the populace has brought the country to the brink. Enjoy the last few years of relative prosperity.

0

spoitier 4 years, 6 months ago

This may be an opportunity but why tourism? The Bahamas could find other industries to make it self profitable by not relying solely on Tourism, first we need to find ways to feed ourselves. With a country that has sun year round I don't see why we don't look into cutting down on food export. Secondly medical tourism could be an industry for the Bahamas, and thirdly the Bahamas could try their and beef up the retirement community that could rival places like Arizona and Florida. Just throwing things out there but there is plenty more ways to make the country profitable.

0

SP 4 years, 6 months ago

No question several alternatives exist in diversifying Bahamas economy.

However, in the immediate and short terms, the most profitable and easiest means of increasing GDP is firstly to increase tourist spend by focusing on creating resort activities that encourage visitors to leave cruise ships and hotels and allow them opportunity to spend more.

Government consideration of granting Carnival Cruise Lines a license to develop theme parks or more private Islands stopovers is the absolute DUMBEST THING THEY CAN DO.

Bahamians must own tourist products NOT FOREIGNERS.

This PLP government has turned away several proposals for theme parks from qualifying Bahamians with solid foreign expertise/investors for no other reason than friends, family and lovers were not involved.

Secondly, another ignored golden opportunity for government to improve on the economy is in renewable energy.

Despite "talk" about being serious with job creation, IDB recommendations and regionally proven trends, government continue to refuse to implement solar Net Metering & renewable energy alternatives which literally would produce two to three thousand jobs virtually overnight, alleviate suffering of hundreds of households due to inability to pay enormous light bills and put a dent in the crime epidemic.

The biggest deterrent to improving Bahamas as a resort destination, and job creation is government themselves.

1

SP 4 years, 6 months ago

.................................... Cuba Tourist Arrivals Hit Record In 2014 ...........................................

http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-tourist-ar...">http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-tourist-ar...

..................... The PLP and FNM are total undeniable failures in tourism ..............................

0

Sign in to comment