U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant attends Travel Professionals of Color Opening Ceremonies

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U.S. Ambassador Nicole A. Avant presents welcome remarks at the 8th Annual Travel Professions of Color Conference at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort on April 22.

Nassau, Bahamas – Ambassador Nicole A. Avant gave welcoming remarks at the opening of the Travel Professionals of Color annual conference at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.  In her remarks, the Ambassador reiterated her commitment to advancing partnerships between American and Bahamian businesses, especially in the area of cultural heritage tourism.  She said, “Many American tourists – particularly minority American tourists – are looking for a more substantial interaction with The Bahamian people and their history.  These individuals are looking to form personal connections with this beautiful land, and, for this reason, I am very encouraged to see that you will spend much of your agenda discussing the development of Cultural Heritage Tourism in The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean Region.”

Ambassador Avant will co-host a reception at her residence on April 23 for Travel Professionals of Color members, along with the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, HVS Global Hospitality Services, and the International Franchise Association.

Ambassador Nicole A. Avant’s Remarks to

Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC) Conference

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort

Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

I’d like to begin by recognizing a few of my colleagues here today.  It is truly my pleasure to join these distinguished individuals in welcoming you to The Bahamas!

I was delighted to learn that you would hold your annual conference here since The Bahamas is a fitting location for your theme.  Even in difficult economic times, the Bahamas continues to be a land of opportunity; a gateway to the Caribbean market for enterprising American businesses and professionals.

Now, more than ever, The Bahamas tourism industry is ripe with opportunities to develop substantial, strong and long-lasting partnerships between American and Bahamian businesses. I have seen these connections lead to wonderful ventures in the tourism industry – and you need not look farther than Atlantis or this hotel, the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, to see the results.

Opportunity awaits you here and the U.S. Embassy is ready and available to help you identify and develop these relationships.  One area of tremendous potential in The Bahamas is Cultural Heritage Tourism.  I have wonderful memories of vacations in Nassau, visiting the Straw Market and conversing with local vendors who sold authentic Bahamian crafts and I also remember the sounds of Junkanoo lingering through the streets.  Yet, sadly, over the years, that type of cultural experience has been whittled away… but I do believe it will return soon.

Many American tourists, particularly minority American tourists, are looking for a more substantial interaction with The Bahamian people and their history.  These individuals are looking to form personal connections with this beautiful land, and, for this reason, I am very encouraged to see that you will spend much of your agenda discussing the development of Cultural Heritage Tourism in The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean region.

I hope that when this conference is over you come away with a sense that The Bahamas is so much more than Nassau.  This beautiful country is made up of so many different islands, each with its own identity and version of beauty.

I ask you to please tell your customers, your colleagues, your friends and family that there is an island just right for them.  I hope, like me, that they will find a deep and meaningful connection with the Bahamas and with her roots; for, like African Americans, today’s Bahamians are also the descendents of former and freed slaves.

Should you find that you would like to expand your business into The Bahamas, do not hesitate to call upon the Economic and Commercial section of the U.S. Embassy to assist you in finding the right Bahamian partners to make your business successful here.  We stand ready to support your efforts, and to work to create opportunities for your business.

And so, without further a-do, I welcome you to Bahamaland and I invite you to enjoy everything that this beautiful country has to offer, and to take advantage of the many opportunities here.  I wish you all a productive, fruitful conference and I look forward to learning of your successes.

Thank you.