Discovering the Culture of the Bahamas at the BEF
The BEF received Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation of the BahamasMarch 19th, 2019
The Bahamas have less than 400 000 inhabitants, with diverse origins. 80% are black, 10% white, while the rest is mixed. The population is dispersed on more than 700 small islands in the Caribbean Sea.
Although the official language is English, many speak creole. The smiling and jovial population expresses its culture mainly through music and dance. The music, from soca to reggae or calypso, is highly rhythmic. The Bahamas host the biggest festival in the Caribbean region: the Junkanoo. Starting every year from December 26th, dance groups perform in the streets to the sound of drums and instruments; each group is assigned a different theme and the best group receives a prize at the end of the festival.
The biggest island of the Bahamas, Andros, where the capital Nassau is located, has been Americanized due to numerous cruises passing every day. In order to truly experience the island’s culture, the Minister suggested to go on the smaller islands, where locals will shout at you “welcome!” and keep their doors and windows open all day long. With their chill lifestyles, the Minister said the Bahamian people will warmly welcome you.
Tourism is important for the country’s economy as it currently represents 60% of the GDP. However, the Minister described the Bahamas as highly vulnerable to climate change. He mentioned natural disasters such as coastal erosion and the loss of marine resources affecting the economy and well-being of the population and tourists. Climate change causes a loss of annual tourism income and on the other hand rising costs to reconstruct and build new infrastructures. Therefore, the government has adopted a risk reduction strategy to cope with climate change and retain its important tourism sector.