We caught up with Earl Miller, General Manager of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism to get his thoughts about the past year of celebrations as well as his overall vision for how the Bahamas will grow as a destination in the future.
“We went independent in 1973 so it’s a big deal to reach this 40 year mark,” he told us. “And we’re not just celebrating on that day or week, we’re celebrating for the whole year. So every month there’s activities going on - dance, art, the whole thing about the Bahamas where we came from to where we are now.”
So what does he believe is the key in attracting people to both visit The Bahamas for a vacation and take up residency there?
“If you look back on our history you will quickly learn that the Bahamas was known as the playground for the rich and famous when we first started out in tourism back 30 years ago,” he said.
“Nowadays everyone’s coming to The Bahamas, but we always say to a lot of folks who only go to the capital Nassau that we have a host of other islands like the Abacos, Andros, Eleuthera that are almost sitting dormant and we want to introduce all of these islands to everybody else. We believe we have a paradise but we want to share it with the world.
And for those considering moving here permanently, what are some of the main advantages?
“I simply believe that people living in New York or Florida and places like that,” he said, “where it’s overcrowded and every day you’re going into rush hour traffic and you’re coming home in rush hour traffic with road rage, sirens blazing, that now you want to come back to nature. And what better place to come than the islands of The Bahamas?
“We believe the Bahamas is the alternative, somewhere to get away from your comfort zone, get out to one of these islands where you can distress and add some years to your life.”
So despite being a great success story so far, what does he hope the Bahamas will achieve over the coming years?
“If you’ve noticed, what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years is building our infrastructure,” he said. “And even though we’re not part of the Caribbean, they lump us in that, which we love for the advertising, but really we’re in the Atlantic, the closest destination to Florida.
“We’re trying to achieve one thing for our citizens, which is to have a good life where they can earn a good income, so we’re trying to attract a high-end market now.
“We believe the Bahamas is a special place to live. We have a lot of tax breaks so for example if someone wants to come and live in the Bahamas without getting married and becoming a full citizen, if they invest about $500,000 the Bahamas government will accelerate their citizenship so they can live their 6 or 8 months of the year and enjoy both parts of the world, by staying with us in the winter and going home in the summer.
You can watch the full video interview with Earl Miller above this article.