Bahamas economy showing signs of recovery -PM

* Revival seen in tourism and foreign direct investment

* Infrastructure, construction projects helping jobs

MIAMI, Dec 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Bahamas’ economy, battered by the
global economic crisis over the last two and a half years, is
showing signs of recovery with revivals in tourism and foreign
investment, the islands’ prime minister said on Thursday.

“Now there are distinct signs that the worst is over and
that the tide is beginning to turn,” Hubert Ingraham said in a
speech to businessmen in Nassau. A text of the speech was sent
to Reuters in Miami.

Like many small Atlantic and Caribbean island states,
Bahamas, an offshore financial center and popular tourism
destination located southeast of Florida, was hard hit by the
international economic downturn.

Ingraham said Bahamas’ real gross domestic product (GDP)
contracted by an estimated 4.5 percent in 2009, dragged down by
a 22 percent decline in foreign direct investment and a 10
percent fall in tourism stop-over arrivals. These tourism
arrivals had also dropped by more than 6 percent in 2008.

But both tourism and foreign investment were showing
significant revivals, signaling “that these are early signs of
an economic recovery in the works,” the prime minister said.

The tourism sector in the last five months had shown
significant improvements over the corresponding period in the
previous year, he said.

Ingraham also pointed to a 3.5 percent increase in foreign
direct investment in the first six months of 2010, indicating a
reversal of the previous downward slide.

Unemployment, which had risen to an estimated more than 14
percent at the end of 2009, also appeared to have leveled off,
Ingraham said, noting some companies had begun hiring again.

The prime minister said he was encouraged by ongoing
infrastructure and construction projects, both private and
public, as well as proposed foreign investment deals.

Among the latter, he mentioned the announcement of the
proposed sale of 51 percent of state-owned Bahamas
Telecommunications Company (BTC), the exclusive mobile operator
in the Bahamas, to UK’s Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC.L: )
for $210 million. [ID:nLDE6B10B8]
(Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Jane Sutton)

Bahamas economy showing signs of recovery -PM