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|Briland's LeDaunne Davis Breaks Top Tourism Story at ZNS|
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|Posted by:||Jun 6th 2006, 02:54:19 pm|
|eleuthera||Great Job LeDaunne, you have indeed made our family proud.
|Posted by:||Jun 6th 2006, 12:58:26 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Congrats to television producer and cub reporter LeDaunne Davis (Gusty and Linda Lewis' daughter) for her superb interview on ZNS TV Channel 13 on Monday night:
Chinese Travel Group To Scout Bahamas Tourism Venues
By Tameka Lundy
The Ministry of Tourism is preparing to receive Chinese-based tour and travel operators along with members of the media on a familiarization trip to The Bahamas as officials lay the groundwork for increased travelers from the Orient.
According to the Director General of Tourism Vernice Walkine, the plan is to take the group on a tour of various points of interest in Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama and Abaco this week.
"This is our first familiarization trip from China to The Bahamas," said Ms. Walkine. "…so they get to see who we are and what we have to offer, so it puts them in a better position to be able to package the trips down the road. They will help us to determine what is the best way to reach their customers so that they would buy Bahamas [vacation] packages."
She said the reason that tourism officials want to increase visitor arrivals from China is based on pure economics as the country is emerging as one of the world’s powerhouses. Expansions in the Chinese economy underpinned global economic growth during the first quarter of 2006.
China’s surging economy showed no signs of moderating as real GDP for the first quarter of 2006 revealed a year-on-year increase of 10.2 percent, according to the latest report released by the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
Consequently, the report stated, foreign exchange reserves were boosted by an estimated 32.8 percent to $875.1 billion at the end of March.
Preliminary reports from the Bank of Japan indicate that the economy of China continued to expand in 2006 buoyed by gains in exports, business fixed investments and private consumption.
"If it didn’t make business sense for us to [go after the Chinese market] then we wouldn’t waste our time," Ms. Walkine said.
"The Chinese economy is the fastest growing economy in the world. It’s predicted to continue to grow at a rate that is faster than everybody else for the next 10 years at least because they are producing more and they are spending more.
"There is a growing upper and middle class in China where they have lots of money…There is an obvious audience there to receive our message s about what the islands of The Bahamas have to offer."
In fact, more outbound travelers will originate from China over the next 10 years than anywhere else in the world, according to projections from the World Tourism Organization.
What tourism officials here are doing now is working out the logistics to be able to accommodate the travelers.
"We believe that destinations like The Bahamas would be very attractive for them; they like the beach, they like upscale shopping, they like gambling and we have those things and so we want to put ourselves in a position within the next two to three years to be able to receive them comfortably," the tourism DG said.
"They need to be satisfied that they would enjoy their own food while they are here. We need to ensure that we have some extra Chinese tour guides to give them that extra comfort while they are here. We believe that we will have the kinds of rooms at rates that are attractive."
Last February, The Bahamas opened a high commission office in Beijing, China which affords Chinese an easier mechanism to securing travel visas.
The volume of trade between The Bahamas and the People’s Republic of China is now close to US$150 million annually, according to figures provided from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that tourism officials continue to await final approvals from the China National Tourism Authority, which would give Bahamian officials and Chinese tour operators the freedom to actively promote The Bahamas tourism product in China.
The plan to attract more tourists from China is based on the rationale of not being disproportionately reliant on the United States for business. But officials conceded that the change is not going to happen overnight.
Director of Airlift Development at the Ministry of Tourism Tyrone Sawyer said earlier that airlift is going to be key to the effort to bring Chinese tourists to The Bahamas. He has already initiated talks with various airlines.
"We are going to very quickly mobilize our efforts to get better connections from China into The Bahamas," Mr. Sawyer said.
"It takes some planning. It takes some thinking and we are in that process right now [of securing] better connections in order to secure more tourist business from China."
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