Introduction The tourism industry employs directly or indirectly about 50 percent of the Bahamian workforce and accounts for approximately half of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
The Bahamas welcomed the new millennium with a travel and tourism renaissance. A change in government in 1992, an adjustment in marketing strategy and a $2.0 billion investment in the island's infrastructure has helped re-invent the destination for leisure and business travelers. The Bahamas were presented with the Crystal Palm Award for Excellence by the Caribbean Hotel Association in January of 1998. This prestigious award recognized the Bahamian government for its excellence in tourism management and visionary leadership. This honor was mirrored in the growing popularity of the destination as the Ministry of Tourism reported The Islands of *The* Bahamas to be the most popular destination among all Caribbean Islands.
According to Caribbean Tourism Office (CTO) statistics, more than 1.3 million Americans visited TIOTB, nearly double the number of US tourists to the #2 preference, Jamaica, and nearly triple the number of US visitors to the #3 choice Puerto Rico.
1998 brought with it $1 billion worth of investments in the development of hotels and tourism infrastructure. The most impressive of these investments was Atlantis, Paradise Island, where a $450 million expansion doubled the number of guestrooms, and added both a new convention complex and a 25,000 sq.-ft. ballroom, the largest in the Caribbean. (To date, Atlantis, Paradise Island has spent $850 million on expansion and renovations.)
The Islands received heightened visibility during the summer of 1999 when MTV: Music Television brought a full slate of programming to be taped on Paradise Island. The "Isle of MTV" served as the setting and backdrop for many of MTV's current shows, in addition to original programs designed specifically for the summer of 1999.
On July 8, 1999, The Islands of *The*...