Many yachters from around the world are continuing to make The
Islands Of The Bahamas their destination of choice. During the 60 th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show held from October 30 to November 3, yacht charter operators, brokers and owners were presented with a multitude of options of where they can drop anchor and enjoy the spoils of the archipelago. Dubbed the “greatest boat show on the seven seas”, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show attracts approximately 110,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors representing 52 countries.
Senior Director of Cruise and Maritime in the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) Carla Stuart was among a number of maritime officials seeking to lure more yachting business to The Islands Of The Bahamas. The Senior Director made presentations to brokers, charter operators, captains and yacht owners at several of the Boat Show events including a special luncheon held by Northrop and Johnson- a leading yacht broker company, and the annual meeting of the International Superyacht Society (ISS). The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation also sponsored a captain’s dinner. Stuart’s presentations came on the heels of a recent visit to the Monaco Boat Show. At both events, BMOTA officials erected LED booths to provide more information about the destination. Ms. Stuart explained that it is crucial for the BMOTA to have a presence at these events to tap into the multimillion-dollar industry.
“It is important for us to take advantage of opportunities to meet one-on-one with influencers in this industry. We have to be able to present to the respective groups and entertain any questions that they may have, so that we can see how much more we can help them and really spread the message that The Bahamas is the place that you want to bring your yacht,” she said. “These meetings are extremely important because they provide an opportunity to be more personal with people in this industry.” Also making presentations was Vice President of the Bahamas Marinas Association and owner of Romora Bay Resort and Marina Joe Dargavage.
He assisted in driving home the message that The Bahamas remains open for business despite the damage Hurricane Dorian inflicted on Abaco and Grand Bahama in September. “The media got the message out that there was a lot of damage in The Bahamas. But at the same time, many people around the world thought that the entire Bahamas was destroyed. And so, we have to get the message out that that’s not true. We need people to continue to come to The Bahamas. With them coming, that helps with relief efforts because that is money coming to The Bahamas,” he said. The message that The Bahamas is open for business was well received by many, who expressed a keen interest in participating in familiarization trips to The Bahamas. Christina Norris of Oversee Yachts was one of them.
“I am a designer of yachts and many of my clients would love to come and visit,” she said. “Ninety percent of my clients always have The Bahamas as a destination that they want to visit. I absolutely want to visit in a familiarization trip because if you are excited about a place then you can get your clients excited to go as well.” Rebecca Riley of Paradise Yachts said she has a yacht that will be chartered to The
Bahamas in a few weeks. “We have been to The Bahamas many times. The interest is still very high in The Bahamas and we are happy that the message is being sent that The Bahamas is still alive,” she said. President of the ISS AJ Anderson said he also enjoyed the presentation.
“I know a lot about The Bahamas because I grew up as a captain there,” he said. “I recommended The Bahamas many times before but after the presentations, I am even more inclined to send as many yacht owners as I can to this beautiful country.”