Macro-economic indicators over the past year reflect positive trends in the Bahamian Economy according to Senator, the Hon. James Smith, Minister of State for Finance.

Minister Smith says major foreign direct investment projects will lead to expanded opportunities for growth and employment in the local economy.

In spite of the setback caused by two hurricanes in September, the tourism sector recovered quickly and experienced significant growth with arrivals ending for the year 2004 at 10.8% above 2003.

Several major developments have been confirmed which will further expand the country’s already well developed tourism sector:

* A billion dollar redevelopment of the Cable Beach area in Nassau involving the purchase by Baha Mar Development Company of the Radisson Cable Beach Resort, the Nassau Beach Hotel and the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino;

* A $400 million upscale residential community, 18 hole golf course and 240 slip marina in Abaco;

* A $300 million redevelopment of the Cotton Bay Club in south Eleuthera;

* And the launch of new service between London and Nassau by Virgin Atlantic on July 4.

Minister Smith said the financial services industry is positioned to compete effectively in the new global environment of expanded regulatory and supervisory standards. He said the industry has accomplished this feat through the introduction of a series of new products and services – including legislation for foundations, special purposes trusts, and segregated accounts companies.

Construction activities, which account for about 10% of GDP, suggest a stable trend reflecting a balance between increased investments in new projects and the conclusion of works carried over from the previous year.