Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis says his government is about to develop a broad-range of activities for a total experience for visitors to these shores, post-Hurricane Dorian. He made the announcement as he delivered the Keynote Address at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace at Baha Mar Convention Centre, January 21, 2020. He told the movers and shakers assembled just months after the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian struck North Abaco and Cays and East Grand Bahama, that The Bahamas is still open for business. And that, although New Providence and Paradise Island account for more than 70 percent of the country’s population and more than 70 percent of its GDP, those two account for less than two percent of land mass, the Prime Minster said.
“This concentration of population and GDP is forcing us to reconsider ways to diversify our tourism economic centres, while we build greater resilience in and continue tourism growth on New Providence and Paradise Island,” he said. The Prime Minister thanked the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation for the stellar achievements in tourism growth over the past two and a half years, including its rapid response in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. “The Ministry’s coordination and cooperation in the promotion and delivery of highly satisfying experiences for our visitors has been applauded and recognized throughout our region and beyond,” he said.
The Prime Minister told the hundreds assembled for the CHTA Marketplace that Hurricane Dorian was “a watershed moment” for The Bahamas in the truest and most unfortunate sense of that phrase. “The lessons of Hurricane Dorian have forced us to rethink a number of matters that we have often ignored or not more fully addressed,” he said. “Dorian has forced us to rethink our global responsibilities as a voice in combating climate change.” The Prime Minister observed that while the Caribbean contributes little to the causes of climate change, the region is far more vulnerable than most countries of the world to the effects of climate change.
“Hurricane Dorian has forces us to rethink construction and resilience,” he said. “We must find ways to build and where possible retrofit our homes, our buildings and our power and water infrastructure that are far more hurricane resilient to both wind and surging waters.” The Prime Minster then shared that the good news is that The Bahamas is receiving scores of recommendations for review and consideration from both international and Bahamian experts and companies. At the recent UNDP Donor Pledge Conference, the country was offered various types of assistance for rebuilding after Hurricane Dorian. “Let me emphasize and repeat that an offer of a pledge of assistance is not the same as acceptance of an offer,” he said, adding that The Bahamas will review the best practices and make its decision based on that.
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