The Bahamas first recognized the potential of a tourism industry way back in the middle of the 19th century when its Government passed a Tourism Encouragement Act in 1851. This was followed by a second act passed in 1854. A third act passed in 1857 authorized the Government to purchase land to allow the construction of a “grand hotel”. 

In 1859 the government of the day entered into a business relationship with Samuel Cunard, the owner of the famous steamship line, to guarantee regular service to the islands at an annual cost of three thousand pounds. In 1861 a high quality hotel located in Nassau (which became the famous Royal Victoria Hotel) was opened but it wasn’t until 1873 The Bahamas received 500 tourists a year.

A Tourism Development Board was set up in 1914 which had the power to advertise and market The Bahamas with an annual budget of three thousand pounds, this being the forerunner of today’s Ministry of Tourism. The first air service to Nassau commenced in 1919 with the introduction by Chalk’s of seaplane service between Florida and The Bahamas. This led to the beginnings of tourism in The Out Islands with the opening of the Bimini Rod & Gun Club in 1924. Pan American added its daily air service between Florida and Nassau in 1929.

In the late 1950s a deep water port was created and work started on downtown Freeport in 1959 and in the early 1960's Grand Bahama gained permission to develop a tourism industry based on the opening of casinos.  Nassau soon followed and casinos were opened on Paradise Island and Nassau by the end of the 1960s. By 1968 the country had experienced its first one million-visitor year.
Despite many fluctuations over the next few decades with rises and falls in tourist numbers caused by a variety of internal and external factors, the eventual freeing up of the tourism market has led to the Bahamas being the most popular and successful Caribbean holiday destination.
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Tourism Information
Gadites Maritime & Navigational Institution A Bahamas' premier school for the worldwide training of recruits and experienced nautical seafarers.


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