January 24, 2023 (Nassau, The Bahamas) – An innovative project to develop a stronger national culture of quality for export development was the focus of a meeting this week between representatives from The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) and officials from the European Union (EU).
During the hour-long meeting and site visit, hosted by the BBSQ on January 18, 2023, Bureau staff demonstrated achievements in implementing the “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of The Bahamas through the Establishment of the Metrology Laboratory” project. The 24-month initiative is financed by the EU under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building, which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
“The BBSQ welcomes the EU delegation to discuss the current status of this significant project. We are grateful for the EU’s commitment to prioritising the value of accurate and reliable quality infrastructure for The Bahamas and indeed the region,” said Ms. Pauline Curry, Chairwoman of the BBSQ.
With project support, the BBSQ is strengthening its services so that businesses can improve the quality of their products, which in turn will fulfil requirements for local and international markets, including the EU market. Overall, the project is expected to stimulate private sector development and facilitate trade by supporting export competitiveness.
“The people and businesses of The Bahamas stand to benefit greatly from this initiative. As the project progresses, we look forward to an even stronger cooperation with the EU,” said Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford, Director of the BBSQ.
Among the achievements highlighted during the visit was a metrology container laboratory that was mobilised at the BBSQ in January 2022. The provision of the lab will establish a sustainable industrial metrology service that includes an ISO/IEC17025 compliant quality management system featuring calibration and testing in mass and volume. The project is also providing BBSQ lab staff with technical training in the quality management system, which will enable the Bureau to produce accurate results that help Bahamian businesses build confidence in their products among local consumers and global export markets.
To date, the metrology container has been furnished with cabinetry, balance tables, laboratory supplies, air conditioning and humidifier to meet ISO/IEC 17025 criteria. The procurement of the laboratory equipment will soon begin.
The BBSQ has also engaged with industry stakeholders from pharmaceuticals and healthcare, manufacturing and energy to highlight the benefits of the metrology container lab and to better understand sectoral needs.
“We are pleased to support this project as it promotes trade as a vehicle for development. By helping national authorities certify quality standards, we are helping small and medium sized enterprises to attract and access the biggest export markets in the European Union. We are also protecting 460 million consumers from problems that could arise without standards of quality,” said Mr. Aniceto Rodriguez Ruiz, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas.
The visit by the European Union team is part of a wider mission to The Bahamas between January 17th and 20th 2023 to meet with institutions who have benefited recently by EU cooperation projects.
More information about the “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of The Bahamas through the Establishment of the Metrology Laboratory”, is available through the project fact sheet.
Director Renae F. Bufford (Director, BBSQ) is posing with EU (European Union) Cooperation Team Delegates (Gabrio Marinozzi; Aniceto Rodriquez-Ruiz and Felipe De La Mota) and Standards Council Chairwoman Pauline Curry; Vice Chair Cadrington Coleby and Councilman Arnaldo Basden.
The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation on Visitor Arrivals
#TheBahamas, January 30, 2023 – The Ministry of Tourism is extremely excited to announce that visitor arrivals to The Bahamas eclipsed seven million in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic tourism numbers.
In total 7,000,706 visitors came to The Bahamas in 2022.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper praised The Bahamas’ performance and the work put in by industry professionals across the board.
“The fact that we have exceeded expectations and attracted more than 7 million visitors to our country in 2022, something only done once before in a single year was no accident,” he said.
“Countless stakeholders in the Bahamian tourism industry, including our international partners, worked tirelessly to achieve this. We sought to strengthen relationships to open new air routes. We sought to make travel to The Bahamas easier, more accessible, and affordable and took the message that we were open for business during our Missions and provided insight on our wonderful offerings to the world.”
“According to statistics the second half of 2022 outperformed the second half of 2019,” he said. In 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to our shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea.
Nassau and Grand Bahama remained our most popular destinations by air, while Nassau and The Berry Islands remained our most popular destinations by sea. Foreign air and sea arrivals for 2022 were up by 233 percent over the same period in 2021 and just 3.4 percent shy of record arrivals in 2019. December 2022 saw total arrivals eclipse 900,000 visitors, more than any month in our history. Cruise arrivals in 2022 increased by nearly 400 percent over 2021 and were less than 1 percent below 2019 cruise arrivals.
Air and cruise arrivals monthly from July to December 2022 surpassed the corresponding month in 2019.
Occupancy rates for 2022 eclipsed occupancy rates for every corresponding month in 2021.
The average daily room rate in 2022 outperformed that category for every corresponding month in 2021. The Bahamas carved out new ground with more than 55 percent of first-time arrivals to The Bahamas, with increases in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
DPM Cooper confirmed that the last six months are the strongest The Bahamas has ever seen. He firmly concluded by saying; “What the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation are forecasting so far and what forward bookings indicate, is that we are on track to break records in 2023. We don’t see this slowing down anytime soon.”
Mrs. Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism added that everyone should understand that tourism is critical to our economy and all Bahamians, even those who do not directly work in the tourism industry, should always seek to lift the industry up.
“We are all in the tourism business in The Bahamas. And it’s a great business to be in. We want to keep our brand fresh and evergreen. And that’s everyone’s job, especially mine. I have a great, hardworking team at our ministry and we have some incredible things in store this year.”
GB’s tourism numbers have returned a significant 80 percent of pre-Dorian, pre-pandemic
#TheBahamas, January 30, 2023 – “The future for tourism looks great and the future for Grand Bahama looks phenomenal,” Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments, Chester Cooper told Tourism partners, during a special welcome reception at the Lighthouse Pointe Resort on Friday, January 27, 2023.
UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment
#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.
Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.
Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.
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