Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation officials are working feverishly to promote “Summertime In Freeport” – a campaign aimed at boosting arrivals on the island. Over the past several weeks, officials hosted a number of Bahamas Night events to educate travel agents and other stakeholders on the summertime events and myriad of activities available in Freeport. The events were held in Miami, Boca Raton and the latest in Orlando at the JW Marriot Grand Lakes. Through a vibrant presentation from BMOTA officials, travel agents were able to receive more information about the destination. Soon after, the agents enjoyed mouthwatering Bahamian and American dishes and was serenaded by Bahamian artist Avvy.
The evening climaxed with a thunderous Junkanoo performance.During the initial presentation, tourism partners such as Bahamasair, Silver Airlines, Balearia and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line used the opportunity to promote transportation to Grand Bahama. For example, Bahamasair officials announced that the airline will commence weekly
direct flights from Orlando to Freeport, Grand Bahama beginning June 29. Deputy Director General of Tourism Ellison Thompson said the presentation was impressive. “It’s been a great evening presenting to the travel agents. I think they were really impressed by the quality of the event,” he said. “It’s important that the travel agents understand The Bahamas and understand that we are not just one island, we are a
number of islands. Part of our job is to teach the travel agents the geography of The Bahamas.
Thirty-three percent of the business comes from travel agents and we have to make sure that we are cultivating and growing that business.”Director of Sales for Florida Betty Bethel-Moss, who is a former director of The Bahamas Tourist Office Grand Bahama, said she was thrilled to sell the destination to travel agents. “We zoomed in on exactly what would sell in Grand Bahama,” she said. “There are over
40 attractions, there are cultural festivals and of course beautiful beaches. The travel agents gave us lots of energy. The whole purpose of this initiative is to drive business this summer and the travel agents have responded. We are already getting calls from previous events and so we are very pleased with their energy.”
Director of Grand Bahama Tourist Office Karen Seymour said officials wanted to abolish the perception that there wasn’t many activities in Grand Bahama. “This was an opportunity for us to get in the market with our sales team and let people know what is going on in Grand Bahama Island,” she said. “For this summer, we have both Goombay Summer Festival and Junkanoo Summer Festival. There is something to do from east to west in Grand Bahama.” BMOTA officials spoke about the Bahamas Travel Agent Specialist Program that provides incentives for travel agents who sell The Islands Of The Bahamas. Additionally, there will be a number of familiarization trips to Grand Bahama starting in June. Inocencia Chisolm of Signature Cruise and Travel/Travelution said she is excited about selling Grand Bahama to her clients. “Grand Bahama is a great place to visit.
It is not all about the beaches, it is about the food, the culture, the people and I would suggest that if you have not visited Grand Bahama as yet this is a great time for you to do it. Summer is just around the corner and this is a great time for you and your family to take an amazing trip,” she said. Sue Jeske of Finding Paradise With Sue said she was excited to learn more about Grand Bahama. “As travel agents, we think we know everything, but when we go and explore these different events, it always gives us something new to take back to our clients,” she said.