The Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) and the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) have been working closely to link entrepreneurs who have ideas related to tourism, with the large players in the industry such as Baha Mar and Atlantis. SBDC Executive Director Davinia Blair said 15 percent of the companies that have presented their business plans thus far have products and services related to tourism.
Nassau offers the best opportunity to create linkages between tourism and entrepreneurs, Director General in the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibrilu said recently, explaining that the TDC is sure to bridge that gap between tourism and small business.
Blair said she and Janet Johnson, who heads the TDC, have met on several occasions and plan to launch specific programs and workshops targeted at advancing small businesses in the tourism sector. She added that she and Johnson also met with a team from Jamaica’s TDC, who are in town for the State of Tourism Industry Conference.
After presenting at a sustainability conference last week, Jibrilu said The Bahamas has to ensure that Bahamians have a stake in the industry.“If Bahamians aren’t directly involved, if these linkages aren’t made, sustainability is just a buzzword we use,” she said.
“You have a captive audience when you look at Nassau alone; when you look at the port with 3.5 million tourists getting off cruise ships, and they are desperate for things to do. They want the authentic, they want the food, they want the experience of the culture. We know with good ideas, hopefully there are people coming to the table now who will make that bridge possible. Jamaica has done it well, and it’s a model that works. Why don’t we borrow from it?”
Blair said the SBDC will be working closely with the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, as well as the Ministry of Tourism, to ensure links between small businesses and the wider tourism sector occur “that can produce goods and services required in the industry”.