In an effort to connect local Bahamian producers with wholesale purchasers, the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) will tomorrow kick-off the inaugural Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace .

The event which will be held on Friday and Saturday at the Atlantis Grand Ballroom is expected to become an annual event. The expo will allow some 100 Bahamian small and medium sized enterprises to meet and do business with key decision makers and facilitators in the tourism sector.

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Tourism director general Joy Jibrilu explained: “This public private sector collaboration aims to assist the development of the tourism supply chain and other linkages and to support business to business trade between Bahamian entrepreneurs and potential partners in the tourism sector. In this very first marketplace event, 100 Bahamian small and medium enterprises from supply chain including agricultural products, durable goods, foods products and consumables to creative industries will meet and do business with key decision makers in the tourism sector including hotels, restaurants, cruise line representatives, tour operators and event planners,” said Mrs Jibrilu.

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Four every tourist dollar the country earns,  $0.85 cents ultimately flows back out of the country. Mrs Jibrilu said that one way to arrest this trend is to allow Bahamian entrepreneurs to sell their goods directly to the hotels and cruise lines. “This is expected to become an annual event that will give Bahamian producers the opportunity to show and expand their business initiatives by enjoying improved access to wholesale purchasers and facilitators in the tourism sector. We believe that tourism can do more than just provide jobs,” said Mrs Jibrilu.

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Nina Maynard, a Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) executive committee member within the next year if not sooner, a web portal will be launched which will allow vendors to sell their products directly to buyers. “We’re building the portal so that a buyer can by from Bahamian entrepreneurs online. We want it to become a real e-commerce site. We are making sure that we step into the 21st century,” said Maynard.

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