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16th Abaco Business Outlook Coming September 5

Under the theme “Connecting Resources, Maximizing Opportunities, Transforming Abaco”, the 16th Annual Abaco Business Outlook (ABO) is scheduled to take place Thursday, September 5, when Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP for North Abaco Darren Henfield will present the keynote address. The event will be held at Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.

Also scheduled to present at the forum are Maxine Duncombe, Administrator, Central Abaco; Ken Hutton, President, Abaco Chamber of Commerce; Gaynell Rolle, Chief Valuation Officer (Actg), Controller Dept. Inland Revenue, Ministry of Finance; Donovan Ingraham, Wellness Coordinator, Atlantic Medical; Delmaro Duncombe, Snr Aliv Business Partner; Dave Smith, Mng. Director, Bahamas Development Bank; Dr Keenan Larry Carroll, President/Owner, The Sandpiper Inn, S. Abaco & Pres. Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board; Jevon Butler, Chief Sales Officer, Kanoo; André Knowles, Chief Commercial Officer, BTC; Rochelle Roberts, Technical Manager, NUA Agents & Brokers and Noelle Nicholls, Consultant, Communications Centre, Ministry of Finance.

Announcing the conclave was Joan Albury, President, TCL Group and chief organizer of the Business Outlook seven-island series that includes Bahamas Business Outlook, the country’s premier economic forum.

“We are looking forward to a wonderfully exciting Abaco Business Outlook this year. The conditions are highly conducive. We made sure to put together a group of presenters covering key points of the economic spectrum—the areas represented align with those opportunities and concerns most closely related to business development in Abaco—matters relating to taxation and ease of doing business for example. Who should attend? Anyone who is interested in business opportunities, because tourism in Abaco has been described as ‘hot’. The Abaco mainland and the Cays are experiencing record numbers of visitors and visitor satisfaction is high. Added to this bonanza, seasonal closures of resort properties have been at a minimum. Furthermore, the tourism forecast is greenlighting the upcoming fall season. Also factoring in the buoyancy of the Abaco economy is that island group’s performance in the second and vacation home markets. Agriculture is also doing well. Opportunities for investment are abounding, as there is a rising demand for more rental homes, energy resources and eco resorts.  There is opportunity in agriculture, especially now that BAIC is granting Crown land,” Albury said.

The Business Outlook creator noted that this year’s Abaco forum will also be discussing the challenges this northern island cluster shares with other parts of the country.

“It is vital to discuss also the challenges to the continued quality growth of the Abaco economy,” Albury noted. “We want, especially, to highlight those issues that are relevant to the entire Bahamas. Ease of doing business is still lagging. All over the country, business people, investors and ordinary citizens are complaining of too much red tape and the need for better scheduling of government agency inspections and connectivity among government agencies. Processes needs to be simplified generally, if we are to gain in the international ranking in this regard, which serves as prime factor in attracting quality investment. We have been told that the Customs rollout of its Electronic Single Window (ESW) is still experiencing road bumps and customs brokers are frustrated. Access to capital is also still a major challenge to economic growth, so we have made sure to include a representative of Bahamas Development Bank among our ABO 2019 presenters.

“As the organizers of Business Outlook, we at TCL believe that many of Abaco’s more significant concerns are or should be shared by the nation as a whole, because other islands are beset by the same problems and some represent a threat to our way of life. Illegal immigration and overfishing and poaching in our waters are still vexing issues, as are lack of preparation for hurricanes and bush fires and the risk of inappropriate development driving off existing business for lack of proper zoning policies, especially in communities such as Hope Town on Elbow Cay.

Those interested in attending the Abaco Business Outlook may register/contact: The Abaco Chamber of Commerce E-mail: info@abacochamber.org Tel. 367-5822; Wynsome Ferguson, Ministry of Tourism, Abaco, e-mail: wferguson@bahamas.com, Tel. 242-669-152 or 242-669-0161; Margaret Albury, The Counsellors Ltd., e-mail: malbury@tclbahamas.com, Tel. 242-322-7505. Online registration is available at www.tclevents.com.

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