The Bahamas remains open for tourism business despite the destruction caused in parts of the Northern Bahamas by the CAT 5 hurricane, Dorian, Acting Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said. Addressing more than 200 athletes, officials and parents attending the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 Optimist North America Championship underway in Montagu Bay, Minister Campbell told the group that The Bahamas is a sixteen-island destination – fourteen of which were not impacted and/or adversely impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Minister Campbell said while Dorian caused major damage in parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama which has placed the country in the midst of what is arguably the “largest humanitarian aid effort” The Bahamas has ever had to undertake, the destinations of The Bahamas remain open for tourism business. (Minister Campbell was pinch-hitting for Minister of Tourism and Aviation the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar who was out of country on official government business.) The Acting Tourism and Aviation Minister gave the visiting athletes, parents and officials two assignments.
“The first entails you advising everyone in your various countries — the twenty of them represented at these Sailing Championships – that, notwithstanding Dorian’s passage through the northern parts of the country, The Bahamas remains open for business. We have sixteen beautiful destinations and only parts of two were disrupted by Dorian and so the others remain open to welcome them for their sporting activities; to welcome them for their vacations,” Minister Campbell said. “Your second assignment is to ensure that every dollar that you brought with you is spent. Spend all of it. Enjoy our culture, enjoy our cuisine, enjoy our entertainment, enjoy our touristic sites and all of the other amenities the destination provides. Your presence here this week will contribute to our recovery and healing.”
Minister Campbell encouraged the athletes to use the competition to develop longstanding relationships that will prove to be beneficial to them as individuals and groupings for “years to come.” He said relationships developed by the Government of The Bahamas has resulted in “extraordinary responses from friends from countries around the globe” – including those in the region — who have rallied to The Bahamas’ side in the aftermath of the hurricane.
“Life is about relationships,” Minister Campbell said. “The outpouring of love and support The Bahamas has received from around the globe in the aftermath of Dorian has been heartwarming and we – as a government and as a people – are grateful for it.“That outpouring of love is the result of the relationships that would have been formed and nurtured at various meetings and events. These Championships provide you with a similar opportunity. Yes, there is a battle for gold, silver and bronze, but develop relationships outside of the sailing competition, ensure that those relationships extend beyond sailing, ensure that those relationships are nurtured so that they can last a lifetime,” Minister Campbell added.