Deputy Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments, Hon. Chester Cooper, said his ministry, along with the Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey, have been working diligently to get activity going for the island of Grand Bahama, with some exciting things in the pipeline.
A part of that activity, he said, has been holding active discussions with several airlines in an effort to get the price of flights into Freeport to be lowered.
“It is still distressing to me that you can fly to the Dominican Republic from New York for a cheaper price than flying into Freeport,” said the Deputy Prime Minister. “You can fly to Nassau at a cheaper rate than you can fly to Freeport. That means something is wrong. I think if we are able to fix that, we will see more activity coming to Grand Bahama and that’s something we’re working on.
“We’re excited about what we see in the pipeline. We do need more room capacity in Freeport. So, it is critical that we expand the availability of rooms in Grand Bahama. Everyone will benefit of the increased activity and the increased airlift in Grand Bahama.”
Deputy Prime Minister Cooper, along with representatives from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Investment Authority were in Grand Bahama on Sunday, March 20, 2022 and toured Viva Club Fortuna Resort. Mr. Cooper said his reason for wanting to get an up-close-and-personal view of Club Fortuna was to show his support for the resort, which has borne the brunt of all of the hurricanes to hit Grand Bahama since 2004.
“And yet, they still persist,” Deputy Prime Minister Cooper noted, commending the owners, operators and employees of Club Fortuna. “I was pleased to hear of a commitment from them for the long term in Grand Bahama. They are and will be a strong partner for the tourism product. Club Fortuna is a great resort and offers a mixture of peace and quiet, as well as night life and a party atmosphere. I’m excited with what I’ve seen here.
“This is an exciting time for The Bahamas, but it is particularly an exciting time for Grand Bahama.”
The Deputy Prime Minister said that it is imperative that the Ministry continue to promote Grand Bahama Island as a destination. He added that the Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry for Grand Bahama are working on some new promotional material that will help to get the message out that Grand Bahama is alive, that things are happening on the island, that there are things to do on the island and that the product is a great one. He noted that East End and West End play important roles in terms of the overall offering of Grand Bahama.
“Grand Bahama Island is more than just Freeport,” said Mr. Cooper. “We’re sending that message to airlines; we’re sending that message to all of our partners, including our cruise lines. We’ve been getting some distressing reports from visitors that there is nothing to do in Grand Bahama.
“That simply tells me that we’ve not been adequately telling our own story. So, we’re going to do a better job of telling the story of Grand Bahama island.” In terms of the economy of Grand Bahama, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the government is working to move the economy of Grand Bahama and looking to see the best way to ramp up the overall activity, improve the infrastructure to ensure that there is capacity and that there is activity. Minister Cooper noted that with the construction of the new Carnival Cruise Port, the renovation of the GB Airport and with the renovation of the Grand Lucayan Resort, there will be an increase in the employment numbers on the island.
“So, yes, there will be a lot of opportunities and once we get the activity going and once business travelers return that will improve occupancy overall and when we improve occupancy overall, we improve employment. So, Club Fortuna will benefit and other resorts and properties on the island will benefit.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the future of tourism and business activity on Grand Bahama. I am very well aware that Grand Bahamians have been expecting a ‘big boom’ for a long time. The time for talking about it is over. The time for grandstanding is over and it’s time to get some shovel into the ground.
“I would like Grand Bahamians to know that everything we in this Davis- Cooper Administration is doing is for them. To create jobs, to create
opportunities, to create new businesses, to help expand the pie so that we can share the wealth. That really is what our mission and objective is. “And we will not stop until we bring some relief to the island of Grand Bahama.”
During his time in Grand Bahama, the Deputy Prime Minister was to meet with five potential investors for the Grand Lucayan Resort. Minister Cooper said that they’re not looking for an investment partner with just deep pockets, but one who has a vision for Grand Bahama island and for sustainable longevity of the resort itself. The Deputy Prime Minister said that the investment climate in Grand Bahama is very positive.
More photo highlights below: