Bahamas Begins Review for Tourism Account

The Ba-hamas Ministry of Tourism is looking for agencies to help it better target Southeast U.S. markets such as Florida in order to overcome a 10 percent drop in visitors as it launches a review for its $10-15 million account, sources said.

The client this week expects to issue requests for proposals to eight agencies, including roster shops Bozell, New York, which works on consumer ads, and Irma S. Mann, Strategic Marketing, Boston, which does trade work, said Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, director general of the ministry who is conducting the review. He declined to name the other six agencies that will be asked to provide credentials to client officials next month.

In advance of issuing proposal requests, the ministry began contacting about a dozen shops in recent weeks to gauge their interest in pitching, sources said. Undisclosed agencies in New York and California—as well as in Florida, a key target state for Bahamian tourism—have received calls from client officials, sources said.

An undetermined number of finalists will be given a creative project in December. A decision will be made by year’s end, and more than one agency may be hired, Vanderpool-Wallace said.

The client spent nearly $15 million in 2001 and about $10 million on advertising through the first half of 2002, per CMR.

Driving the review is the Ba-hamas first change of government in nearly a decade, as Obie Wilchcombe replaced Tommy Turnquest as tourism minister this summer, Vanderpool-Wallace said. “It’s a good time to refresh, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

Following Sept. 11, travel to the region has slipped some 10 percent in the first nine months of 2002, versus the same period last year, per the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

The Bahamas last month began a U.S. newspaper blitz to attract more visitors, particularly from states such as Florida.