By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A former tourism minister yesterday said he is concerned over the pace of Grand Bahama’s economic revival telling Tribune Business: “Grand Bahama needs an injection”.
Obie Wilchcombe, the former West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP told Tribune Business: “I am concerned about the pace of which things are moving on Freeport. The Minister indicated that we may be 24 months away which is a far cry from what was projected a few months ago. Grand Bahama needs an injection. It needs to get its tourism business back. Grand Bahama needs hotel inventory.”
Mr Wilchcombe added: “The tourism industry needs a real shot in the arm. I note that there are some things in the pipeline but they are going to take a while. The government I suppose will argue they can only do so much but they may have to take a new approach to this thing and look at how we get more airlift and generate greater growth. The government has an opportunity to turn Grand Bahama around but people are going to have to see a new and exciting product.”
Mr Wilchcombe urged the government to seek to capitalise on recent US travel restrictions to Cuba. “The government should look to make arrangements with the cruise lines to come to Grand Bahama. They need to now find places to go and this could be an opportunity for Grand Bahama,” said Mr Wilchcombe, adding, “I think we will be missing an opportunity if we don’t act now.”
The Trump administration’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba hit the cruise industry right at the start of the summer vacation season. Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar recently told Tribune Business The Bahamas should see a ‘little boost’ in its cruise business but predicted there would not be much additional business as a result.