Supporting Global Development through Sustainable Tourism

NGS Bahamas: The Family of Islands Geotourism MapGuide

NGS Bahamas: The Family of Islands Geotourism MapGuide

Improving market access for small and medium sized tourism businesses on the islands of the Bahamas.


  • Partners:
    • Inter American Development Bank
    • Complete Caribbean
    • The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
    • The National Geographic Maps Division
  • Project Duration: February 2013 – September 2014

The Challenge

The Family of Islands have a double challenge: They must contend with the common misperception of the Bahamas as primarily a mass-tourism destination, dominated by cruise passengers, big resorts, condos and golf courses—an image unattractive to many potential visitors. They must also contend with the tendency to be lumped as one undifferentiated whole, whereas in fact each island has its own characteristics—natural, historic, social, scenic, even culinary character—as well as a distinctive marine environment. The challenge therefore is to change the perception in the tourism market of these islands and to highlight each islands unique qualities.


The Solution

The Geotourism Program for the Bahamas Family of Islands will help communities on these islands improve their market position within the tourism sphere by providing potential visitors with knowledge of the Bahamas’s Family of Islands unique place-based tourism attractions, sites and businesses and the abundance of authentic experiences offered on these islands. The project’s core deliverable, is a National Geographic co-branded website that will motivate people to visit the region and provide a resource for travel that will enhance the benefits from tourism for local people.

The Bahamas Family of Islands project will mobilize public action on each island to be part of an interactive platform to tell the stories of their places through the website, select the key messages, attractions, activities, products and experiences that tell each islands stories. These are then highlighted, interpreted and marketed through the Geotourism Website. The Geotourism MapGuide not only drives increased visitation to the islands, but by its nature also attracts the type of visitors most likely to enjoy an Out Island experience and to care about the people and place they are visiting.



Major Activities

  • Initiate key stakeholder outreach and establish Geotourism stewardship council: Program partners engage diverse regional stakeholders (conservation, community, business, cultural, and ethnic) to identify and recruit a broadly representative Geotourism Stewardship Council (GSC) to help guide the program locally.
  • Develop methodology for submitting nominations for the map Solimar, National Geographic and program partners develop a plan for gathering site nominations for the Geotourism Website within the local context and design and create site nomination web site to start gathering local content.
  • Geotourism MapGuide launch events Participatory Workshops and events are held with key stakeholders to engage local participation in gathering local stories about sites, attractions and businesses.
  • Execute community outreach and collect data: Solimar and the local Geotourism Stewardship Council organize community outreach activities, to help people from the region tell their story through the website.
  • Verification and Fact Checking: Information uploaded to the site is checked, verified in partnership with the local Geotourism Stewardship Council and where needed lightly edited.
  • Contextual Information Based on the information gathered, destination level descriptions and introductory text is developed through interviews with key local voices.
  • Cartographic design, research, edit Through the information gathered by Solimar in collaboration with our local partner, Natiponal Geographic places the selected information on the website, researching, verifying and locating each map point, placing text and photos, securing photo rights, and editing text.
  • Launch and Distribution/Dissemination The website is launched with local partners and National Geographic and promoted to targeted travel markets.

Results

  • Creation of a National Geographic co-branded website that provides information on local, authentic tourism businesses, sites and attractions in the region
  • Strategic business plan and marketing strategy to guide the long-term sustainability of the program
  • Establishment of a Geotourism Stewardship Council of local tourism representatives to guide and sustain the program aver the long-term

The Tourism Project Link:


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