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Idb Approves Long Island Airport Study

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a feasibility study for upgrades to Long Island's main airport, a senior official said yesterday.

Maria Florencia Attademo-Hirt, the bank's Bahamas country representative, told Tribune Business: "We are moving forward with that, and we have provided grant resources for that. After that study is complete we will present the study to Government and they will decide what to do next. We are aware that there have been several studies in the past. Part of our engagement is to look at everything; not to duplicate anything, and try to conclude."

Earlier this year, the IDB announced it had approved a $35 million loan designed to improve infrastructure at four airports on the Family Islands. It said the loan would contribute to the archipelago's regional and international integration through upgrades at the Exuma, North Eleuthera, Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay airports.

"That project was approved in January 2017 by the IDB Board. It is pending Parliamentary ratification and signing of the loan agreement to start execution, but that is the programme where certain Family Island airports were selected for upgrades.

Originally there was no conversation about Long Island, but in the past maybe month-and-a-half we were asked look at the Deadman's Cay airport and conduct a feasibility study for improvements," said Mrs Attademo-Hirt.

The Government has responsibility for 29 airports across the Bahamas and has embarked on finding public-private partnerships (PPPs) for potential financing opportunities.

The redevelopment of Family Island airports will be done in phases, with consultancy group, Stantec, reporting that a total $185 million investment was needed to revamp all.

Adrian Gibson, Long Island's MP, while addressing the Long Island Business Outlook conference yesterday, said an international port of entry (by air) was one of the island's three most pressing capital works needs.

"We have physically canvassed the island and used various websites. In so doing, we have discovered that there are over 60 vacation rentals on the island, two major resorts and other smaller resorts and villas," he said.

"Research shows that - not counting the plethora of empty apartments - there are approximately 200 bedrooms available that can accommodate nearly 440 people every night. It is estimated that the total gross revenue to the island from room rentals and ancillary activities, based on a 50 per cent occupancy estimate, could be more than $17 million annually."

Mr Gibson added: "Notably, the Ministry of Tourism's numbers do not accurately reflect the number of tourists coming to Long Island. Many more do, however, en route to Long Island. Many of them clear Customs and Immigration in New Providence and Exuma, and those are counted to their numbers.

"I suggest that the Department of Immigration should add a "final destination" section to its Immigration forms. Given the above, these tourists are not added to Long Island's final numbers."

Comments

sheeprunner12 1 week, 3 days ago

This is LONG overdue ....... no pun intended ......... This SLOP doctrine to Punish Long Island People (PLP) seems to have been finally overcome ....... That is why SLOP will never be recognized as a "father" in Long Island ........ He was like Mugabe towards Long Island.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 3 days ago

Mr. Adrian Gibson is showing his tenacity and determination in getting the three big hurdles in Long Island overcome .............. potable water, international airport, investment .......... then that will be followed by ........ agriculture/manufacturing, Govt. facilities upgrades, green spaces and Diaspora re-population.

He has done more in six months than LBT did in five years.

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Socrates 1 week ago

the idea that runways create tourists is rubbish.. plenty bahamian islands had runways built using this line and most of them are still graveyards.. you could launch B52s from San Salvador on bombing missions but except for Club Med, nothing happening.. same thing in Arthurs Town, Treasure Cay, Inagua, Rock Sound, Governors Harbour, Freeport, etc., etc... in fact only Exuma could be called a 'success' but they had business when the old airport was in use.. nothing against LI people, but this project would just create more gov't debt. as for Water, nobody can complain about that since it is essential to human existence...

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sheeprunner12 1 week ago

Your "chicken or egg" argument is illogical ....... Without an airport with international/customs access, there is no way to grow a niche island tourism product based on foreign visitors .......... and Bahamian domestic tourism is not really promoted beyond regattas and home-comings (and these are now highly politicised) ....... Long Island has two hotels owned by Canadians and Germans......... can you imagine if there was direct flights from Canada and Germany to Long Island???? ......... Just use your own San Salvador and Club Med (French) an example.

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