By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A former Marina Operators of the Bahamas (MOB) president yesterday said he was “not worried one bit” about Cuba’s potential tourism challenge, arguing that this nation had a “real lead” in the Caribbean as an attractive yachting destination.
Joe Dargavage, Romora Bay Resort and Marina’s general manager, told Tribune Business that his property would be making a strong marketing push to attract the super yacht segment, sports fishermen and the local Bahamian market, noting that there is huge potential for this nation in the yachting industry over the next five years.
“We are definitely going after not only the local Bahamian market, which is very important to go after, but also the sport fishing as well as the mega and super yacht market,” Mr Dargavage told Tribune Business.
“The potential not only for Romora Bay but Harbour Island and the rest of the Bahamas, especially on the yachting side, over the next five years is huge.
“More and more vessels from around the world are finding the Bahamas to be one of the top cruising destinations of any of the islands in the world. I truly believe that the Bahamas has a real lead on many of the other Caribbean islands, and we are getting more and more vessels coming from as far away as the Mediterranean.”
Having undergone a two-year remodelling, with Mr Dargavage now at the helm, Romora Bay, which employs some 30 staff is looking to add to its customer base by marketing to a new audience. The resort boasts of 15 all-suite rooms, 40 slips to accommodate yachts up to 160 feet in length. and two restaurants led by Italian chef, Paolo Di Chara.
Mr Dargavage said Bahamian resort operators consistently need to be “on their game” upgrading their properties and marina.
“Many people ask me what I think about what Cuba might bring,” he added. “I don’t worry about it one bit at all for the Bahamas. I truly believe that we offer such an amazing hotel and resort destination for cruising vessels there is not another place like it in the world.
“We’re really going to make a strong marketing push to go after that upscale market that continuously finds itself coming to the Bahamas. Even with the addition of Baha Mar, that is going to bring a tremendous amount of people to the Bahamas.
“All those people are not necessarily going to want to stay just Nassau. We want to introduce them to the Family Islands. I truly believe that the growth in the Family Islands over the next five to 10 years will be really beyond what anyone is anticipating.”