ECONOMIC Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis.
BY EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
ECONOMIC Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis said the government does not believe the country is in a recession, as he pointed to being in the midst of a “very strong rebound in the economy” led by tourism.
He said officials in finance remained “cautiously optimistic”.
“My take is we don’t claim it,” he said. “We don’t claim recession, all right. There are different opinions.
“Some people think we’re already in it. Some economists says that, you know, it’s going to happen.”
“Our experience is that we are in the midst of a very strong rebound in our economy led by tourism.
“Our source market is in the US, which has the problem of too much money being spent hence the actions of the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to try and tamp it down. My view is, you know, in finance, you are always cautiously optimistic.”
He went on to explain one possible benefit that he sees of a recession, particularly for tourism.
“Our experience is that we’re having a strong rebound in tourism. Tourism officials believe, well they see, that this demand will persist well into next year. And so one silver lining of any recession, particularly when he talks about the US, is our source market. Eighty plus percent of our visitors come from the US.
“If there’s a recession, I always look at it, perhaps somebody doesn’t take a vacation as far away, they decide to come to The Bahamas. So, it can even be a benefit. You manage your finances. In the event that business cycles are going to be up and it’s going to be down, we’re not worried about a recession.
“You don’t want something to become a self fulfilling prophecy. Because if you’re worried about ‘Oh, recession is coming’, people stop spending money, and then you manifest the recession. Our rebound is going strongly and so we (are) optimistic,” the minister said.