By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The first Bahamas Charter Show is aiming to “put this nation on the yachting map”, it was revealed yesterday, with more 20 boats and 80 registered brokers already registered to attend.
Dr Kenneth Romer, the Ministry of Tourism’s executive director of product quality and support, said the show will drive home the industry’s economic impact as one yacht spending a single week in this nation can “inject up to $1m back into our Bahamian economy”.
The event, which will be held from February 27 to March 1, will be co-hosted by Worldwide Boat, a luxury charter company, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.
Sanaa Vhora, yacht charter and sales director for Worldwide Boat, said the show presented an opportunity for The Bahamas to expand its reach and reputation among the global marina and boating sector.
“They are going to find out about all of the marinas that are here that welcome charter yachts,” she said, “and we’re kicking off this show with a Nassau marina tour thanks to the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM).
“Then we will go into two days where all of the boats participating are open for viewing. Brokers will be inspecting the yachts, meeting the crew and getting to know the culture of The Bahamas. We will be ending the celebration with a Bahamian-themed event at The Pointe marina.”
She added that 2020 was “time for us to strike” with the Bahamas Charter Show given the lingering effects of Hurricane Dorian. “It’s time to put The Bahamas on the map on the yachting industry for brokers to really come, see and feel what the Bahamian waters have to offer,” Ms Vhora added.
“This first inaugural event is a not-for-profit event where we are going to be joining hands with the Ranfurly Home for Children. We have a hefty [fund-raising] goal but we believe we can get there.”
Dr Romer added: “We believe that the Bahamas Charter Show will accrue a multitude of benefits for the islands of The Bahamas. From air to sea, The Bahamas’ tourism business is stronger than ever as evidenced by us welcoming a record breaking 2m visitors to our shores in 2019.
“We know that Worldwide Boat, which has made Nassau a home park for 15 of its luxury vessels, is helping us to draw more vessels to the country......This is a market that our Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is placing significant interest and emphasis on, especially going into 2020.
“The spend from yachting directly impacts our Family Island communities, and we certainly need all of the assistance right now. Therefore we see yachting as imperative in the diversification of our tourism product.”
Peter Maury, the ABM’s president, said: “This is a good opportunity for us to represent the marinas to the charter brokers and the yachts that come to this show. I think it’s a great opportunity for The Bahamas to capitalise on these revenues and kind of explain the modernisation of the clearing process, and some of the charter fees and payment processes, as The Bahamas modernises all of its online capabilities.”