The Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Obie Wilchombe confirms the appointment of Joy Ann Jibrilu as the new Director General of Tourism, replacing thirty year Tourism veteran, David Johnson who will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas and lead that organization’s transition to the Tourism Development Corporation.
This organizational restructuring comes amid the Ministry’s aggressive marketing campaign to reposition the Ministry to be more responsive to increased global demands and changing trends within the global tourism market to increase airlift, inventory, new tourism plants and room nights in The Bahamas. Today, tourism is on course to return the nation to its premier position as the number one destination in the entire Caribbean.
Mrs. Joy Ann Jibrilu is the current Director of The Bahamas Investment Authority within the Office of the Prime Minister. In that capacity she was instrumental in the invigoration of the tourism plant, brand and product. Specifically, the joint venture between Sunwing of Canada and Hutchinson Whampoa which fueled the economic resurgence of Grand Bahama; the Eleuthera Cove project; Resorts World Bimini; Albany and Mahogany projects in Southwestern New Providence and the expansion of Club Mediterranean in San Salvador.
Called to The Bahamas Bar in 1989, this barrister at law served as Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Finance during 2007 and 2008 and as a consultant to the Ministry of Financial Services and Investment between 2005 and 2007. She served as a director on several boards including the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) and the Domestic Investment Board.
The new Director General will be supported by a team of young talented Bahamian professionals including Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, the current Deputy Director General of Tourism who will now assume responsibilities for Global Marketing. Other key appointments to this dynamic team will be made shortly.
The Ministry of Tourism has initiated a bold and aggressive program to increase its market share by 4% to 5% by tapping into markets in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
The Tourism Minister has assigned experienced Bahamian professionals throughout the world as the Ministry generates awareness of The Bahamas, cultivate relationships with airlines, tour operators and travel agents al designed to increase traffic flows into The Bahamas with the desired effect of increasing inventory and generating greater economic returns.
This new tourism marketing thrust includes an expansion of the digital platform and a greater networking presence on social media such as facebook, twitter, instagram and other social tools that would enhance the country’s virtual presence globally.
The Ministry’s 16/16/16 wedding campaign which is sixteen weddings on 16 Bahamian islands on the 16th January 2015 exceeded expectations as over 2,000 contestants have entered this program, mainly through the marketing tool of virtual social networking.
The Ministry is pleased to date with the decision to utilize its in-house teams for marketing and communications and is pleased with the competent leadership of those units. This decision is producing steady growth and progress. With this team the Ministry is determined to pursue a determined and progressive campaign to improve the country’s tourism product – be it the country’s national assets, its hospitality and service generally throughout The Bahamas.
Simultaneously, the Ministry intents to make more effective use of the Hotel Corporation through its conversion into the Tourism Development Corporation with a focus on increasing room inventory.
The Tourism industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism by the Promotion and Tourism Act fifty years ago. Today, The Bahamas is one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. During this time the business of tourism, leisure and travel became one of the fastest growing, sustainable and largest industries in the world. The Bahamas suffered some erosion of market share in recent decades due to the emergence of countries such as Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica – countries that focused more intensely on the developmental component of the tourism product. Tourism proved to be a lucrative alternative to their faltering argo driven industries in the 1970’s.
These destinations successfully built their room inventories to more than double the capacity of The Bahamas within one quarter of a century. Together with innovative tourism products, attractions, competitive pricing and aggressive marketing, destinations such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic were able to triple the inventory capacity of The Bahamas.
“With this organizational restructuring, new tourism plants and brands, an innovative marketing strategy including sports and religious tourism in addition to tapping into niche markets, the Bahamian tourism product is poised for a massive resurgence” said Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.