Tourism Development Corp aims to become a ‘bridge’ between tourism lenders and entrepreneurs – Eye Witness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) seeks to provide greater support to tourism-related entrepreneurs and to be a “bridge” between lending institutions and other agencies to provide them with access to finance, according to its President Rafique Symonette.

Speaking on the sidelines of the TDC relaunch on Thursday evening, Symonette explained that the entity is redirecting its efforts towards increased support for local tourism entrepreneurs.

“I think what’s changed is that we’re trying to focus on local tourism entrepreneurs,” Symonette said.

“For too long we have spent too much time getting tourism entrepreneurs into the future and you have to get your initial funding from friends and family. There has never been this level of support from the government. The TDC seeks to be that support and to be able to help entrepreneurs move from an idea to a viable partner with major hotels and cruise ships.

He continued, “I think the main thing is the links. The role of the TDC is basically to focus on the bridging role between development finance institutions and other government agencies so that we can help be that bridge and effectively help them find a way to access finance. The goal is that we will eventually partner with companies like the Bahamas Development Bank and help entrepreneurs take their business plans to the level where they can get loan approval. Often they have good ideas, but they can’t be approved for a loan. »

Symonette also noted that many tourism entrepreneurs such as small tour operators have been challenged to obtain insurance that would allow them to access business in the cruise industry.

“One of the challenges that many entrepreneurs have faced trying to make their way in the wider cruise industry is the lack of access to insurance. Many large tour operators have many opportunities because small players cannot afford insurance The TDC is working to ensure that through the Bahamas Association of Onshore Experience (BASE), an insurance program is in place that small suppliers can participate in said Symonette.

He added: “Another great initiative is this idea of ​​a directory. We have never had a complete directory of tourism professionals. There has never been a consolidated source, so if a new project is launched there is a new developer on the scene, they know where they can go to find talent. »

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