#Nassau, October 18, 2018 – Bahamas – Officials of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Wednesday, hosted an inaugural one-day Tourism Safety and Security Workshop for tourism industry stakeholders and members of the country’s law enforcement agencies. It was designed to elaborate on strategies to bring about greater safety and security for visitors to the country’s shores.
Held under the theme: “Tourism Safety and Security, Enhancing Safety and Security Strategies for Our Number One Industry,” the workshop, at the British Colonial Hilton, was facilitated by the Ministry’s Visitor Safety and Security Department.
The workshop tackled areas such as Visitor Safety and Security; the Role of Partnership in Crime Prevention for Visitor Safety (facilitated by Sr. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Stephen Dean); and Challenges and Solutions to Visitor Safety and Security.
Participants were also provided with a Statistical Overview of Visitor Safety and Security, in addition to hearing tourism industry partners’ views on the subject. Presenters for this segment included Chief Superintendent Bernard K. Bonamy, Jr. (Officer-in-Charge, Central Police Station, Royal Bahamas Police Force); Sr. Lieutenant Andrew Bowe, Harbour Patrol Unit, Royal Bahamas Defence Force; and Douglas Hanna, Vice-President of Security, Atlantis Resort.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar said the focus of the workshop was “critical.”
“We assure our visitors, that our islands are where they need to come and spend their vacation because we in The Bahamas can offer them a thoroughly satisfying, safe vacation experience,” Minister D’Aguilar said. “All businesses sell products or services. The primary product of our country’s number one industry – tourism – is an experience. We are in the business of offering an overall vacation experience that visitors will find memorable.
“Today, in spite of the best efforts of all tourism industry stakeholders, our tourism product confronts a threat, which if not effectively addressed, can sabotage our entire tourism enterprise. Ladies and gentlemen, I speak of crime in general and crime that can possibly threaten the safety and security of our visitors.”
Minister D’Aguilar said personal safety and security is the number one concern that resonates with all human beings.
“As such, the threat of crime can no doubt compromise the safety and security of our visitors and possibly nullify the offer we make to our guests that they will have a satisfying and safe vacation experience in The Bahamas. It is important that we confront the issue of crime soberly and realistically.”
Mr. D’Aguilar said The Bahamas has built a well-defined brand in the tourism marketplace after years of cultivating a positive reputation as a glamorous resort destination. The Tourism and Aviation Minister said there continues to be a “strong desire” among travel consumers for a Bahamas vacation.
“But alongside this glamorous reputation, we are aware that a darker one can come about should crime and its associated threats be allowed to fester and, yes, oftentimes the internet and social media make more ado of situations than what really exists in reality. But we cannot escape the actual fact that perception to onlookers is truth. We are then forced to ask ourselves the very hard question: ‘Do we really feel that we have done enough to combat the perception that The Bahamas is possibly a high crime destination?’ The answer is an easy one, a resounding no. That is why we are gathered here today for a meeting of the minds, to elaborate strategies to bring about greater safety and security for our visitors.”
Mr. D’Aguilar said the issue of visitor safety and security does not exist in isolation.
“The larger context surrounding this issue is crime in general – a menace that affects the entire population of The Bahamas. We all agree that crime is a social ill and as such must be approached in a holistic manner with a multi-pronged strategy that will yield desired results in the short, medium and long term.
“Ladies and gentlemen, travelers will not put their safety and security in jeopardy. They will simply bypass high crime destinations and opt for places where they feel safe (and) so we in The Bahamas do not have the luxury to wait for medium to long-term solutions to crime, and in particular, crime that affects the safety of our visitors.”
By Matt Maura
Photo Caption: Minister of Tourism & Aviation the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar addressed a Ministry of Tourism Workshop on Visitor Safety and Security for stakeholders of the industry, October 17, 2018 at the British Colonial Hilton.
(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)