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Govt Urged: Focus On Eco-Resort Incentives

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Government was yesterday urged to offer specific incentives for eco-friendly resorts in the Family Islands, a non-profit co-founder arguing this segment would offer higher visitor value.

Shaun Ingraham, One Eleuthera Foundation's co-founder, speaking with Tribune Business at Abaco Business Outlook conference, said: "We need to offer more incentives, which don't have to always be financial, to organisations that want to start eco-resorts.

"It's not a matter of saying we shouldn't do the big resort projects, but it's recognising that eco-tourism seems to be where the world is going, and where a lot more high value tourists are going."

Mr Ingraham said such visitors were willing to "pay more for less". He explained: "They are willing to pay more for less and stay in an eco-lodge or something very simple.

"I think we should encourage more of that. Incentives are given to the big hotels, the airlines and the cruise ships. It's time now to say we should look at this, and say this is the future of the Bahamas, especially in the Family Islands."

Mr Ingraham added: "Almost every airline is subsidised, and every cruise ship paid to bring tourists in. The type of guests that we try to include in our projects are those who can afford to come here, and they spend way more than what the average cruise passenger spends, for instance.

"I'm willing to bet that a large enough percentage of those people would like to be involved in the broader conversation of how do we tackle social challenges."

One Eleuthera Foundation is a non-profit aiming to bring together all island residents, Bahamians and foreigners, to improve their community from an education, health and wellness, environment and economic development standpoint.

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