The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) continues to be an ardent advocator, supporter, and facilitator of an initiative they have aptly dubbed: “The Tru Tru Bahamian Movement”.
The Tru Tru Bahamian Movement seeks to propagate Tru Tru Bahamian Culture, Customs, Heritage, Cuisine; Art, Craft, Dance, Music throughout the destinations tourism product; and within local communities, through a variety of initiatives designed to promote and celebrate the unique talents of a population that boasts a rich; diverse history which has cultivated a plethora of deeply ingrained Bahamian characteristics and expressions of creativity.
The aim of infusing local art, craft, cuisine, agricultural products into the local tourism product is two-fold. First and foremost, it creates an “authentically Bahamian sense of space”; where the local population, and visitors can feel, smell, see and taste, the unique elements of the Bahamas, as opposed to having an experience that is non-distinguishable. This is key to the development of a discernable brand identity for the destination.
“The global travel market continues to seek indigenous; culturally relevant experiences in their destination of choice. By creating an environment which is fraught with Bahamian art, music, food, dance and Bahamian-made products; we are providing visitors with an authentic, Tru Tru Bahamian experience” states Carlton Russell, President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association.
The second objective of the Tru Tru Bahamian Movement is to encourage “local sourcing”. Currently, approximately 85 cents of every dollar spent in the Bahamas leaves the country. The BHTA seeks to stem the leakage through the creation of linkages between the tourism industry and Bahamian entrepreneurs.
In 2016, after the BHTA hosted the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism partnered with the BHTA to host the “Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace”. The exposition gave approximately 100 Bahamian entrepreneurs from all over the island nation, the opportunity to showcase their products to a bevy of potential purchasers; hotel owners and operators, destination management companies, event executives, restaurant owners, wedding planners to name a few, with a view to create connections to stimulate local trade within the Bahamian economy.
“Local sourcing is vital if we wish to expand and diversify our economy. By supporting Bahamian businesses, we stimulate markets in areas that are currently underdeveloped” states Carlton Russell “The benefits of stemming the outflow of funds, and keeping them in our own economy is vast. The trickle-down effect of local sourcing is an obvious benefit, as this creates job growth, and expands entrepreneurial opportunities. We must also think about the long-term consequences; how local sourcing can positively impact crime trends and other social economic ails. Bahamians are immensely talented, creative and proud of their heritage, we just need to give them the opportunity to succeed doing what they love to do. The rest will follow”
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association has presented Five “Focus Areas” for the organization to members and public-sector representatives. Supporting, propagating, promoting and developing Bahamian Culture, Cuisine, Art, Craft, Heritage, Traditions through Local Sourcing and the infusing of culture into our destinations brand identity, is one of the five areas of focus.