By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Tourism executives are hoping to “arrest” the leakage of 85 per cent of the industry’s revenues by better connecting Bahamian entrepreneurs/producers with wholesale purchasers in the sector.
The Ministry of Tourism’s director-general, Joy Jibrilu, announcing the Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace that will be held at the Atlantis Grand Ballroom from June 17-18, said it would allow 100 Bahamian small and medium-sized enterprises to meet and do business with key decision makers in the tourism sector.
“This public-private sector collaboration aims to assist the development of the tourism supply chain and other linkages, and to support business-to-business trade between Bahamian entrepreneurs and potential partners in the tourism sector,” Ms Jibrilu said.
“In this very first marketplace event, 100 Bahamian small and medium-sized enterprises - from supply chains including agricultural products, durable goods, food products and consumables, to creative industries - will meet and do business with key decision makers in the tourism sector, including hotels, restaurants, cruise line representatives, tour operators and event planners.”
Mrs Jibrilu said 85 cents of every tourist $1 earned ultimately flows back out of the Bahamas. One way to curb this trend, she argued, was allowing Bahamian entrepreneurs to sell their goods directly to the hotels and cruise lines.
“This is expected to become an annual event that will give Bahamian producers the opportunity to show and expand their business initiatives by enjoying improved access to wholesale purchasers and facilitators in the tourism sector,” Ms Jibrilu said.
“By so doing the marketplace will support the sustainable socio-economic development of the Bahamas by helping to arrest the unnecessary leakage of tourism revenues from the country. We believe that tourism can do more than just provide jobs.”
Nina Maynard, a Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) executive, said noted that within the next year if not sooner, a web portal will be launched to allow vendors to sell their products directly to buyers.
“We’re building the portal so that a buyer can buy from Bahamian entrepreneurs online. We want it to become a real e-commerce site. We are making sure that we step into the 21st century,” said Ms Maynard.