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‘Leave Nassau And Boost Exuma Skills’

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A senior tourism official yesterday urged Nassau residents to move to Exuma and improve service levels that are “lacking” in a market increasingly catering to high-end tourists.

Janet Johnson, the Tourism Development Corporation’s executive director, told the Exuma Business Outlook that tourism service levels as well as upkeep/maintenance of key historical sites and attractions were deficiencies that must be corrected.

“One of the things I was made aware of recently is the skills levels in Exuma are lacking with the services to visitors,” she said. “They’re not coming for cheap vacations; they’re coming for fulfilling vacations. We need more people with skills in the hospitality industry to move out of Nassau and move to Exuma to fulfill that demand.”

Ms Johnson said of ‘Big D’, proprietor of Big D’s Conch Spot: “Big D’s has to turn people away because he cannot give people the premier service his brand demands. I’m sure that happens in a lot of places on Exuma. We need the help to service those clients and give them a good experience.”

As for Exuma’s attractions and heritage sites, she added: “I was on-island at Easter, and did some inspections of heritage sites that we’re putting out and promoting, and I was disappointed quite frankly to see a lot of overgrown weeds, sites not tended to, planks of wood missing and a rusty Pompey. We really have to work on this restoration of heritage areas.”

However, Dean Spychalla, Grand Isle Resort & Residences general manager, said the golden statue of Pompey - meant to represent one of the leading figures in the fight against slavery in The Bahamas - had been attended to since Ms Johnson’s visit.

“The Pompey statue has been repaired and replaced,” he added. “Somebody has done some work there. It looks a lot better than it did some months ago.” And conference attendees said residents have recently created the Exuma Sustainable Tourism Committee, chaired by Desmond Williams.

However, Ms Johnson said of the required improvements: “It’s education and trying to instill a sense of pride in Bahamians. I’ve talked to many, many Exumians. I don’t want a situation where we’re doing the work and they’re standing by and watching. They have to be involved as part of the process, understand what we’re doing with the destination.

“To have litter all over the place, weeds growing all over the place, it’s all about the Benjamins. That cannot be.” Ms Johnson added that she was seeking to create ‘Friends of Heritage Sites’ so that volunteers would become responsible for their maintenance and preservation.

Comments

mandela 1 month, 1 week ago

Limited housing and its cost in all these islands are a hindrance to people moving.

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moncurcool 1 month, 1 week ago

not to mention lack of medical services

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