In Pursuit Of Sustainable Development: Domestic Tourism

Noelle Khalila Nicolls Insight 0 Comments

THE last time I visited Cat Island, I explored the exclusive peninsula on the north-west coast known as Pigeon Cay. Luxury homes dot the shoreline of Pigeon Cay, overlooking a beautiful inland creek and mangrove system as well as a stunning stretch of white sand beach.

Some of the views from Pigeon Cay are indeed enviable. Unsurprisingly, when you ask local Cat Islanders the question, how many Bahamians own property in Pigeon Cay, chirping crickets can be heard above the feedback.

No doubt, the homes that line the beach in Pigeon Cay, like similar developments across the islands of the Bahamas – South Bar in Harbour Island, Windermere Island in Eleuthera – account for a large amount of leakage in the Bahamian economy. The leakage comes from the rental of these private homes to transient guests as a hotel would do.

Unlike licensed hotel properties, these developments do not benefit from the concessions provided for under the Hotel Encouragement Act, such as being promoted by the Ministry of Tourism and the tourism promotion boards.

However, the lack of access to such allowances is of little consequence, particularly in an Internet age.

The law governing owner occupied rental homes does not seem to be enforced, and appears to be implemented in a discretionary way, at best. The end result on all accounts is leakage. In fact, the One Eleuthera organization quantifies the leakage from private rentals to the local Eleuthera economy at $25 million.

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