With Tourism and Financial Services as the two pillars of the Bahamian economy, the government has identified key areas of interest for foreign direct investment in addition to the traditional means of investing.

Traditional methods of investing in the Bahamas include:

Franchises

The world’s most familiar and best-recognised brands, particularly in hospitality, dining and retail, have a presence in The Bahamas. Among the fast food and chain restaurants are McDonald’s, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s, Burger King, Johnny Rockets, Bennigan’s, Jamba Juice, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Marco’s Pizza, Hard Rock Café, Senor Frogs and Starbuck’s. Hotel industry flags include Sheraton, Comfort Suites, Wyndham, Best Western, Ritz and Hilton. A PGA golf course and resort is coming on stream in Cat Island. Many other franchises remain to be applied for and each year, the American Embassy, eager to identify partnership potential, hosts a franchise workshop in The Bahamas that attracts hundreds, many looking for foreign investment capital and expertise. Financial incentives for restaurants and entertainment are offered and were recently extended to foreign ownership.

Hospitality

With Tourism generating 60% of the country’s revenue, the single most direct route to investment and the arena that attracts the greatest dollars is hospitality. The world-famous Atlantis resort with its six vast hotel and accommodations properties, more than 40 bars and restaurants, eight million gallons of salt water, 14 lagoons and 50,000 aquatic animals making up one of the largest manmade marine habitats in the world is foreign-owned, created by South African Sol Kerzner and owned by Kerzner International, which has been both publicly-traded and privately-held. The two most popular all-inclusive resorts, Sandals (with several locations) and Breezes are Jamaican-owned, privately-held properties.

Industrial Ventures, Manufacturing

Certain businesses, particularly those of a certain size dependent upon specific skills and extensive purpose-built machinery lend themselves to foreign investment, either on its own or in partnership with Bahamian interests. Examples include the Grand Bahama Shipyard and Bradford Marine, also in Grand Bahama, the second largest city in The Bahamas and the industrial capital.

Joint-Venture

Numerous companies from overnight courier services including DHL, FedEx and UPS to major cargo shipping lines including Crowley and Tropical operate with partial or full foreign and local partnership. One of the most sought-after means of investing in The Bahamas is through partnership with a Bahamian individual or company. Local influence brings local knowledge that could extend to markets, labour availability and sensitivity to the socio-economic and geo-political climate.

Real estate

Property, whether for an individual residence or a major development, has been the road most often taken for foreign direct investment in The Bahamas. Bahamian real estate, for numerous reasons, has proved rewarding over the decades, largely holding its value even in the midst of economically challenging times.

Among the most obvious reasons to invest in the Bahamas are:

  • Location
  • Easy accessibility
  • Climate
  • Tax-neutral status
  • Desirability with limited supply and high demand
  • Business-friendly environment for development
  • English-speaking nation
  • Favourable financial incentives for resort development
  • Strong body of law re-affirmed by an independent judiciary
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