NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas is seeking fairness in attracting foreign direct investment in its growth as a Small Island Developing State, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper said in his Plenary Statement at the United Nations General Assembly’s ‘Sustainability Week’ in New York on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Mr. Cooper shared that tourism constitutes 65 percent of The Bahamas’ Gross Domestic Product — when compared to the global average of 35 percent for other Small Island Developing States (SIDs).

He noted that in the last five years, the country has been battered by effects of climate change, notably the devastating Hurricane Dorian, other global shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic, and geopolitical events.  “However, our tourism product has proven resilient, always coming back stronger than ever, leading to record numbers of almost 10 million visitors last year,” he said.

As The Bahamas looks towards the 2030 Agenda and beyond, he said that its tourism success is informed by a commitment to the upliftment of lives, preservation of the environment, and sustainable economies.

“We therefore hope the acceleration of international investments in sustainable tourism — as a priority sector for development with substantial support — becomes an added part of the collective legacy of this body,” said Deputy Prime Minister Cooper.

But he also pointed out that sustainable tourism for The Bahamas goes beyond a set of ESG goals. Rather, “As a destination, we live and breathe by our reputation.”  He then stressed: “Therefore, it is critical to highlight that travel advisories issued by large nations about The Bahamas, and other Caribbean destinations, have the potential to do incredible harm to our economies and disrupt our sustainability efforts.

“We believe the release of these advisories without context is unfair and portrays a sensational narrative that we must expend scarce resources to correct.”

Additionally, he reported that The Bahamas has attracted more than $10 billion in tourism investments in the past three years alone building connectivity with airport and seaport infrastructure, resorts, and the massive integration of renewable energy.

He deemed it important to point out that the existing punishing “one-size-fits-all” rules and adverse listings from global economic organizations, that The Bahamas is not a part of and had no hand in creating, make it all the more difficult to attract foreign direct investments to small island developing states that is critically need.

“We seek equity and fairness, and we believe the UN is the appropriate body to set proper standards in this regard.

“The Bahamas remains resolute in the pursuit of its holistic SDG and we are committed to working closely with this body to achieve those aims,” he said.

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