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BHTA representatives meet with minister

  • From left are Suzanne Pattusch, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette; and Vernice Walkine, vice president, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association. BHTA

Senior Business Reporter

Published: Aug 23, 2017

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Representatives from The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) recently met with Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette to discuss strategies to enhance local sourcing opportunities for the tourism sector. The BHTA continues to encourage industry stakeholders to buy goods and services from local entrepreneurs.

“BHTA’s Tru Tru Bahamian initiative seeks to encourage local sourcing. Currently, around 85 cents of every dollar spent in The Bahamas by visitors leaves the country. Local sourcing broadens and diversifies the local economy, providing much-needed entrepreneurial opportunities and employment across a wide spectrum of the population,” said Carlton Russell, president of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association.

“The added benefit of purchasing locally, is the infusion of Bahamian ‘flavor’ into the tourism product, which creates an authentically Bahamian sense of space, and further showcases a tourism product steeped in culture, history and ‘Tru Tru Bahamian’ experiences.”

The BHTA will coordinate a public private sector-led committee, which will focus on the development and deployment of strategies to remove barriers to market for small and medium-size enterprises and encourage tourism stakeholders to increase exponentially their current spend on locally sourced goods and services. The committee will also aim to develop initiatives with regional partners within the Caribbean to provide local artisans and food producers with more options to source less costly items, such as packaging material and containers. Currently these items, which are not manufactured locally, are a significant contributor to the cost of production, which results in higher end pricing. The core committee will consist of private and public sector stakeholders, including Symonette, who will be the point person from his ministry; Russell; Vernice Walkine, who will serve as vice president; allied members serving on the executive committee of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; and other private and public sector representatives.

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