By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
While the new Delta Airlines service has brightened the immediate future for Abaco tourism, a Treasure Cay hotelier warned that the lack of domestic service into that location “has hurt us for three years”.
Stephen Kappeler, the Treasure Cay Resort, Marina and Golf Club’s general manager, told Tribune Business: “We have a bright outlook, I believe, for Abaco with the new Delta flight into Marsh Harbour starting on December 19..
“Our owner has asked our partner, the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board, to assist North Abaco with a promotional plan to assist driving tourism traffic over time.”
Yet Mr Kappeler added: “Lack of domestic service into Treasure Cay has hurt us for three years. Hopefully, this is to change soon. Keep in mind Abaco has two to one guest rental homes over any other Out Island, and thus we have already twice the passenger counts into Abaco over any other Out Island, and are third only behind Nassau and Grand Bahama - but largely into only one airport.
“You can imagine how much better we could perform with domestic flights into Treasure Cay, as currently it costs more to taxi transfer each way at $85 than it costs to fly round-trip into Marsh Harbour on our country’s carrier.”
Mr Kappeler said marina traffic is up in the Abacos. “Our fuel station at Treasure Cay will serve a record amount of fuel this year at over $3 million in sales, due in part to the lower cost of fuel over 2014, and is the largest fuel station in the nine major Out Islands,” he added.
“Rubis has invested well in our station, bringing in the best top-of-line speedy fuel dispensers and filtering systems with state-of-the-art LED controls and, in return, we can pass on and offer the lowest fuel prices to vehicle and marina customers in North Abaco.”
Mr Kappeler said: “We believe the Government will support the Marina Operators of the Bahamas and our Abaco marina and boating/fishing partners, and bring new laws into place to penalize boat thieves to stop this tourism deterrent.
“Then we can expect to see the trend of boating tourism to spin wildly up as not only the closest and best island nation to the US, but the safest. We know the fishing is already the best, and our Out Island family of associates are the friendliest of any island, and that is why they return every year.”