Tourism is the country's leading industry (85% of tourists are from North America), followed by banking. Barclays, CitiBank, Royal Bank of Canada and CIBC are among the eight clearing banks doing business in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is FATF compliant, which means it meets the international criteria as a country serious about fighting money laundering.
Retail and wholesale distributive trade, manufacture, agriculture and fisheries are the other major sectors of the Bahamas economy. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Bahamas exceeds $3 billion, 60% of which comes from tourism related activities. The per capita income of the Bahamas is $11,000, which puts it amongst one of the highest in the region. Besides political stability, proximity plays a key role in the country's fortunes. The Bahamas is the closest port for luxury cruises from South Florida. And it's only a 30-minute plane hop away.
The Bahamas enjoys strong ties with its closest neighbour to the north - the United States. A stable political environment and investor friendly policies have made this island nation one of the most desirable countries in which to live and invest.
One of the Bahamas' key attractions is its tax friendly environment. The Bahamas does not levy taxes on capital gains, corporate earnings, personal income, sales, inheritance or dividends. This tax freedom is available to all resident corporations, partnerships, individuals and trusts. Corporations find the Bahamas an ideal place to establish a business. The Bahamas government is committed to a "No Income Tax" policy.
In the last decade, Kerzner International, the international hotel company, has invested $850 million on the world class Atlantis resort and casino, and exclusive Ocean Club and Golf Course development on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Kerzner International, in September, 2003 broke ground on the first phase of a $600 million expansion on Paradise Island.
In Freeport, Grand Bahama, Hutchison-Whampoa, the Anglo-Chinese conglomerate, has established a container port, which rivals that of South Florida, and has teamed up with the local government authority in a massive airport and hotel re-development programme.
The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) was created in 2000 to promote the country’s role in the international community. With industries such as banking, trust services, mutual funds, capital markets, accounting, legal and insurance represented, the BFSB oversees the development of these industries within the international financial arena. During the 1990s, New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced an unprecedented level of growth as a result of investment by locals and non-Bahamians. The tightening of secrecy laws has led to a fall-off in the number of international business companies forming in the Bahamas. But in spite of this set back, the Bahamas financial community appears to be holding its own.
For more information on these topics please visit The Central Bank of The Bahamas.
When purchasing Bahamas real estate, we offer the following advice:
Here is a list of recommended lending institutions.
Nov 12, 2008 – THE Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert Ingraham, said his government has started to put in place a “measured and realistic national strategic plan” to cushion the economy from external economic challenges.
Mr. Ingraham, in an address to the Bahamas, said government spending can provide an “important stimulus” to the economy of the Bahamas. He warned, however, that capital expenditure plans may have to be revisited if revenue performance does not live up to earlier projections.
The Bahamas government will review its capital investment programme to fast track those projects that, it feels, would best help deal with the emerging unemployment problem resulting from a downturn in tourism due to world economic conditions.
On the tourism front, the Bahamas.com website has been redesigned making it both more attractive and interactive.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has stepped up the marketing and advertising of the various Bahamas destinations in the television and print media. It is also aggressively promoting the Bahamas online.
Much of the marketing thrust is directed to the Bahamas' closest English-speaking, friendly neighbour – the United States. The Bahamas uses US currency and offers US customs and immigration pre-clearance facilities.
Mr. Ingraham noted that the Bahamas has the edge in terms of proximity to the United States and his government will exploit this advantage to the fullest.
These efforts are being bolstered by aggressive initiatives to improve airlift from the US to the Bahamas at competitive rates, he added.
Promotional initiatives are also being increased in the UK and Canada. A public relations drive is taking place in Asia and Latin America to position the Bahamas to benefit when the economy improves in those areas.