**US Ambassador Ned L. Siegel**

Apparently prompted by troubling headlines concerning slowing growth and rising unemployment in the United States, U.S. Ambassador Siegel has issued a media statement about the potential impact of changing economic circumstances in the U.S. on The Bahamas.

He indicated that at this point in time, what such an impact might be is not clear. *”Clearly, though, tax rebates will give Americans more disposable income, and some of that income may well be spent on travel. While the amount of money in your bank account is an important factor in the decision to travel, other factors come into play as well. The Bahamian peg to the U.S. dollar offers great advantages because the costs of a trip will not fluctuate with the exchange rate”.* He also noted that people are likely to consider vacation destinations closer to home — such as The Bahamas — when their budget is tighter.

The Ambassador said the challenge for The Bahamas is the same as it would be in all economic circumstances – that is, how to maximise its advantages to attract those travelers to spend their vacation dollars here as opposed to elsewhere in the world.

The Ambassador maintains that many of the fundamentals of the U.S. remain very strong, noting that since the mild recession in 2001 it has enjoyed over six years of economic growth, and expects to have positive economic growth in 2008, albeit slower than seen in the past few years.

Investments in The Bahamas continue to flourish, he said, and American investors will continue to look for strong returns where they can be found. *”While no one can predict the future with certainty, I am confident that if the United States continues to aggressively address its economic challenges and The Bahamas maintains a friendly posture to investment, both economies should continue to grow and ensure prosperity for their citizens in 2008 and beyond.”*