Friday, June 11, 2010

BP (British Petroleum) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could bring more visitors to The Bahamas

Oil spill in U.S. could bring more visitors
By JAMMAL SMITH ~ Guardian Business Reporter ~

While the BP (British Petroleum) oil spill flooding the Gulf Coast is reported to cost the Florida economy $11 billion, the president of the Long Island Chamber of Commerce believes that the problems created by the disaster will attract some of the "Sunshine State's" boating tourists to the Family Islands.

Mario Cartwright said the Ministry of Tourism should take advantage of the opportunity that was made by the BP blunder and create an effective marketing campaign that would have Florida's regular boating visitors navigate their way into Bahamian waters. With no solution being found yet to resolve the problem, Cartwright believes there's no better time to draw in more tourists.

"This is something that we most certainly must capitalize on," Cartwright said, who is also the owner of Flying Fish Marina. "Even if the oil reaches the northern part of The Bahamas it will provide an opportunity for the islands south of Nassau to gain some exposure and potentially give them a larger tourist base. Once the ministry informs boating tourists that there is no threat of oil in our waters it could work out in our favor."

Cartwright said his marina along with others won't be greatly affected if the oil drifts into the country because business usually slows down during the hurricane season. But sport fishermen who plan their trips in Bahamian waters might become hesitant to travel here if they know that the fish may be tainted with oil.

The Chamber president said that he hopes that the nation's economy isn't affected negatively by the oil spill, and hopes that its future isn't as grim as Florida, which is expected to cut 195,000 jobs. If the catastrophe created by BP poses a threat, Cartwright said his marina along with others should brace themselves.

"All we could do is hope that our industry does not become victims of the oil spill," he said. "If we are endangered by it, I hope the Ministry of Tourism has a contingency plan in place that would have us prepared for the worst. If not, then we have to be strong and hope for the best."

June 10, 2010