Minister of Tourism Tells Leaders ‘The Bahamas is Still Open for Business’

Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, The Honourable Obie Wilchecombe addressing tourism leaders from around the world during The United Nations World Tourism Organization and World Travel Market Ministerial Meeting on November 9th in London, where the focus was on ‘Tourism and Security: Promoting Safe and Seamless Travel’.

The ministerial group discussed health scares, natural disasters, geo-political changes and terrorism. The leaders are pushing for tourism to be fully integrated into all emergency and natural crisis structures within their individual countries.

CNN International’s Becky Anderson who chaired the Summit prompted Minister Wilchecombe to highlight the current issues impacting tourism. Wilchecombe told the group of tourism ministers and industry leaders of the impact of Hurricane Matthew and explained how international media and other bodies in reporting on the storm did not communicate to the world that only several islands suffered major damage.

Minister Wilchecombe stated that this gave the appearance that the entire Bahamas was completely shut down. He made it clear that while there is rebuilding underway for certain islands, The Bahamas is indeed open for business.

“What is very important and what we need to get across is that we need to have a greater understanding so that there could be greater communication lines and we want to make sure that the dialogue is correct as when the advisory is given, as it was for us prior to Hurricane Matthew’s arrival that you are to avoid The Bahamas. That’s our entire nation. Severe damage was done to three of our islands, but not the entire Bahamas. So what happened is people reacted to it and it does have a negative impact,” stated Minister Wilchecombe.

Minister Wilchecombe also encouraged his colleagues in the international tourism business to donate to the rebuilding efforts for Hurricane Matthew.

During his visit to London, in his capacity as Chairman of The Caribbean Tourism Organization, Minister Wilchecombe led a courtesy call on November 9th with Secretary General of the Commonwealth, the Honourable Patricia Scotland at Marlborough House.

Baroness Scotland discussed the current programmes the Commonwealth has for the Caribbean and their future plans to assist. Other topics included natural disasters and emergency contingency plans, small island developing states, managing health crisis and climate change.


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