The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (BMOTIA) peaked the interests of hundreds of private pilots to fly to The Bahamas during a major showing at the weeklong 69 th Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh convention held in Wisconsin from 24 July – July 31.
The Bahamas has participated in the event deemed as the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” since 1998. The airshow attracts over 500,000 – 800,000 pilots and attendees and features some 800 commercial vendors, 12,000 airplanes, and 20,000 trailers representing leaders in the aviation industry, major manufacturing companies and aviation organisations and groups.
Latia Duncombe, Acting Director General (BMOTIA) led the Bahamian delegation comprised of representatives from tourism, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, the Bahamas Customs Department, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Duncombe said that general aviation in The Bahamas has seen significant growth in arrivals of private pilots when compared to its pre-pandemic numbers. This year, Bahamian officials hosted seminars on flying to The Bahamas to underscore the ease of pilots entering the country, including engagements on The Bahamas Customs Department’s digital Click2Clear Programme, along with the operation of a booth for attendees to find out more information on visiting The Bahamas.
The BMOTIA continues to work with customs and private pilots, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), to gauge feedback on Click2Clear and ensure a seamless and user-friendly program is implemented. Testing of the program is currently underway in order to minimize the time it takes to process declarations required to enter the country. Aviators and guests were also encouraged to attend the 2023 Grand Bahama Air Show that will take place on May 25 through May 29, during the U.S. Memorial Day Weekend. The much-
anticipated event will be held for five days and will showcase authentic and cultural activities along with spectacular performances of aerobatic, low-flying maneuvers over the world- renowned Taino Beach.
Commenting on The Bahamas’ booth in the International Federal Partnership (IFP) pavilion, ADG Duncombe said she was encouraged to see continuous foot traffic from opening to close, noting that it is a clear indication of continued interest of visitors to The Bahamas. “This air show gives us the environment to engage the aviators directly and to share the ease of transiting in and out of The Bahamas,” she added.
Ahmad Williams, BTO District Manager for General Aviation and Verticals Department said, “Our objective is to attract as many pilots as we can to come to The Bahamas.”
“Most of the pilots who are attending the seminars have never flown to The Bahamas, so our job is to provide to them with the requirements and show them how easy it is to fly to The Bahamas.”
Rick Gardiner, veteran pilot and Bahamas Flying Ambassador, and a presenter during the seminars, said “The Bahamas Government has invested many years, many dollars and many hours to make it as simple and as welcoming as possible for general aviation pilots. “No country does as much and works as hard to make it easy for general aviation pilots to visit,” he said, “It just speaks volumes of the vision and leadership that The Bahamas Government has shown to get us to this point.”
The Bahamas’ annual participation in the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh convention continues to strengthen and deepen relationships with global aviation partners, including the International Federal Partnership (IFP) of which The Bahamas is one of three countries (along with the U.S.
and Canada); the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA); the Bahamas Flying Ambassadors program, fixed based operators; international media and aviation enthusiasts at large.
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