Stay up to date on current and upcoming tourist events! At Caribbean Biz in New York, New York, we keep you in the loop about the latest happenings, events, and trending tourist destinations.
See What People Are Saying
See What People Are Saying
Stay up to date on current properties and upcoming tourist events! At Caribbean Biz in New York, USA, we keep you in the loop about the latest happenings in the region. The 28 Islands referred to as the melting pot, because of the high cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity has approximately 40 million individuals, thousands of properties, each of which possess their own unique brand, culture and economic characteristics.
Featuring 3 outdoor pools, a miniature golf course, and the Baian Breeze Restaurant, this resort is on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. In tropical gardens, it is a 10-minute drive from downtown Bridgetown.
Each brightly colored suite at the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort is furnished with a complete kitchen and a furnished balcony. The living area includes a TV and a sofa bed. Wi-Fi is available.
The Pure Ocean restaurant is on the beachfront, serving fresh local cuisine. Joslyn’s Café is open for lunch and located next to the beach.
Offering direct access to half a mile of sandy beach, the resort is ideal for surfing, scuba diving, and windsurfing. Guests can work out in the on-site gym or play on the tennis courts.
Grantley Adams International Airport is within a 15-minute drive of Southwinds Divi Beach Resort. The Garrison Savannah Horseracing Track is 5 minutes away by car.
Saint Lawrence is a great choice for travelers interested in nightlife, restaurants and sandy beaches.
Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8.9 for a two-person trip.
January 22, 2020
SAINT LUCIA DOES IT YET AGAIN CAPTURING NUMEROUS ACCOLADES AT 27TH ANNUAL WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS
Castries- (January 22, 2020) Fresh off the heels of the announcement naming Saint Lucia as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination 2019, the inspirational Caribbean Island has done it yet again, this time capturing the title of Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination 2020, at the 27th Annual World Travel Awards (WTA) that took place on January 20, 2020 in Nassau, Bahamas. Saint Lucia has won this award a record 11 times, with the most recent honor coming in 2019. World Travel Awards is the pre-eminent leader in the travel and tourism industry recognizing and upholding excellence across all sectors.
Upon receiving the award, Tourism Minister, Honourable Dominic Fedee noted, “We are encouraged by this award and it demonstrates Saint Lucia’s commitment to excellence and our unmatched romance product offerings. The destination offers limitless inspiration that is second to none and it just doesn’t get more romantic than that.”
The red-carpet World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony also bestowed honors on several distinguished industry partners. Marigot Bay Resort Spa & Marina has been named Saint Lucia’s Leading Beach Resort 2020, Boucan by Hotel Chocolat – Saint Lucia’s Leading Hotel 2020 and Hertz Car Rental - Saint Lucia’s Leading Car Rental Company 2020. Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort was named in two categories, namely Saint Lucia’s Leading resort 2020 and Caribbean's Leading Honeymoon Resort 2020.
Apart from winning the highly coveted award, Saint Lucia was also nominated in three other categories, namely Caribbean's Leading Cruise Destination 2020, Caribbean's Leading Destination 2020 and Caribbean's Leading Luxury Island Destination 2020.
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) remains resolute in its mandate to market Saint Lucia globally as the experiential destination of top choice and the island where the greatest love stories unfold and where romance is unsurpassed. In that vein, the Authority will continue to target the weddings & honeymoon market - a major niche in its marketing agenda.
For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucia.org/
14th January 2020
Saint Lucia names Goodwill and Brand Ambassadors
The Government of Saint Lucia has announced the names of twelve Saint Lucians appointed as Goodwill Ambassadors and nine as Brand Ambassadors. Speaking on behalf of the Government during a press briefing Monday, Minister for Culture and Creative Industries, Senator Hon. Fortuna Belrose said that Cabinet had ratified the proposal which came out of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) last year. A committee was appointed to establish the terms and references for the programme which is now finalized.
“The Saint Lucia Goodwill Ambassadors programme is proposed as a tool to actualize the national cultural policy in a number of key areas,” Minister Fortuna Belrose stated. “They are citizens of Saint Lucia who have achieved international acclaim and the overall objective of the programme is to serve as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation and the development of human capital in all sectors related to the creative arts and the industries, sports, visual arts, gastronomy and music,” the Minister went on to say.
The Ambassadors are expected to represent Saint Lucia locally, regionally and internationally by leveraging their profile and celebrity status to tap into access for growth and to forge strategic partnership between the Cultural Development Foundation and other related agencies. The Goodwill Ambassadors named include acclaimed Saint Lucian singer, musician, songwriter, producer - Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Gordon “Commissioner” Williams - internationally renowned music producer, Taj Weekes - Reggae Music and philanthropy, English Pro Footballer - Jermain Colin Defoe, Lavern Donaline Spencer - Olympic High jumper, Daren Julius Garvey Sammy – International Cricketer, Leslie Ferdinand - Pro Football player, Jallim Eudovic - International Sculptor, Chef Nina Compton – Internationally renowned Chef, Joseph Marcell – Actor, Dr. David Williams - Academia, Ken Chitolie – Philanthropy.
The title of “Your Excellency” will be conferred on the Goodwill Ambassadors, as well as the Saint Lucia Medal of Merit Gold. They will also be issued with an official or diplomatic passport as awarded by Cabinet and a decorated red “laissez-passer” signed by the Governor General.
In announcing the Brand Ambassadors Minister Belrose noted that it was important to ensure that there is a clear pathway for our young upcoming artisteS to leverage their talent and for us as a country to be able to recognize them.
“It is imperative that such citizens be recognized and allowed to leverage their profile/celebrity status to locate ad access opportunities for the growth and development of Saint Lucia in their respective sectors. Given that culture helps to shape the uniqueness of a destination the brand ambassadors program will provide the platform to identify individuals who are best placed to create local and international awareness of our culture, arts and creative industries,” the Minister further stated.
The named Brand Ambassadors are Soca artistes Teddyson John, Ricky T Joseph and Arthur Allain, Reggae musician - Taj Weekes, Lashley “Motto” Winter - music producer/performer, Johnick “Freezy” Leo - music performer and Johanan Dujon - Entrepreneur.
Besides the granting of the award of Brand Ambassador, these individuals will be eligible to apply for property tax exemption on the purchase of property, income tax exemption on income received from foreign sources, visa facilitation, issuance of an official passport, access to grant funding and eligibility to apply for duty free concessions.
Following the official acceptance by the nineteen individuals, the Ministry of Culture and Creative Industries will be hosting an official ceremony at which time all of the official instruments will be conferred on the Goodwill and Brand Ambassadors.
January 13, 2020
BELIZE REACHES HALF MILLION IN OVERNIGHT TOURISM ARRIVALS
It is with great pleasure that the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announces that 2019 was a year of milestone achievement for overnight tourism arrivals.
For the first time in the history of our Tourism development, Belize has surpassed the half-million mark in overnight arrivals. In 2019, a total of 503,177 overnight visitors were welcomed to Belize, an increase of 2.8 percent from 489,261 in 2018. The National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP) endorsed in 2012, has a goal of achieving overnight arrivals of 556,000 by 2030. However, with 10 years remaining, the 2019 figure is representative of already attaining more than 90% of this 2030 vision.
This milestone achievement and ongoing positive growth trend in overnight arrivals can be attributed to many factors including, strategic marketing initiatives promoting Belize globally, enhanced collaboration with local and international partners, significant increase in international direct flights to Belize and the development of tourism resources and destinations across the country.
“This is a significant accomplishment which is testament to the fact that Belize’s tourism industry continues on an upward trend. In fact, over the past decade, Belize experienced over 100 percent growth in the overnight sector, up from 241,119 arrivals in 2010. We now look forward to building on this achievement in 2020, as we continue to work with our valued industry partners and stakeholders, to further develop and enhance Belize’s tourism product” states Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.
January 06, 2020
SAINT LUCIA INTRODUCES A TOURIST ACCOMMODATION FEE
Accommodation Fee takes effect April 2020.
(CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA) January 6, 2020 – Following consultations with stakeholders in the industry, Government will be introducing a tourist ammommodation fee to be used for destination marketing and development. As of April 1, 2020, stayover visitors to Saint Lucia will be required to pay an accommodation fee on their nightly stay on the island. All accommodation providers on the island (hotels, guest houses, villas, apartments etc.) will be required to collect from their stay over guests US$3.00 and US$6.00 respectively on a nightly rate below or above US$120. The fees will be paid by the stayover visitor and collected by accommodation providers who will remit the fees collected to Government via the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority. Guests at accommodation services sourced through sharing platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO will be subject to an accommodation fee of 7% on the full cost of stay.
The tourist accommodation fee will be used to finance the destination marketing activities undertaken by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) as it promotes Saint Lucia’s tourism product worldwide and particularly in key markets within the US, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and Europe. The fee will also be used to support village tourism development, and destination management and development of the local product in Saint Lucia. The intention is to strengthen the SLTA’s ability to increase its marketing of the destination and to support tourism development in Saint Lucia with the collection of a fee that correlates to visitor arrivals.
Saint Lucia attracts up to 350,000 stay-over visitors to its shores every year. SLTA has set a target of 541,000 stay-over visitors by 2022. SLTA wants to increase airlift seat capacity and load factor on all flights into Saint Lucia to 85%. SLTA is also working towards increased awareness of brand Saint Lucia. The SLTA’s annual budget for marketing and promotion is approximately $35 million.
The business of promoting a tourism destination is becoming increasingly challenging and highly competitive as countries worldwide try to capture a greater share of the growing tourist market. Given this, it is now a common practice for countries to finance the marketing of their tourism product through an accommodation fee or levy paid for by stayover visitors to the destination.
More established destinations with far greater resources than Saint Lucia such as Canada, the US and Italy all make use of accommodation fees for destination marketing purposes. In addition, many Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Barbados and Belize and those within the OECS including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, have implemented accommodation levies. These levies are often applied on a per room, per night basis and are sometimes scaled (tiered) based on the type of property. As configured, Saint Lucia’s Tourist Accommodation Fee is among the lowest in the OECS and CARICOM, and other well-established tourist destinations globally. Saint Lucia’s fee structure is similar to the Maldives.
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is establishing a process to allow accommodation providers on island, international tour operators and booking websites to easily remit the fees they collect from stayover guests. The system has built-in mechanisms to verify that the information being provided is accurate. Given that an automated system for remitting the fees collected from guests will be utilised, the cost to accomodation providers will be negligible.
Tourism Minister Hon. Dominic Fedee says destination marketing benefits all players in the industry – accomodation providers, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, ground handlers, sites and attractions. He further said, “It’s always a challenge for small countries to allocate much needed resources towards tourism marketing. The accomodation fee allows tourism to pay for itself, as the tax will be levied to tourist to the island. It frees up much needed funds for healthcare, education and national security.”
For more information about Saint Lucia, visit www.stlucia.org or call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA
December 30, 2019
Barbados Named Top Place To Travel In 2020
Travel + Leisure magazine has released its list of 50 Best Places to Travel in 2020, and Barbados has made the cut.
The annual anticipated list of cities and countries put Barbados in the company of top tourism destinations such as Hawaii, Dubai and France.
A world leader in travel and tourism, the magazine touted Barbados as “largely famous for its powder-white beaches, British-colonial roots, manifold rum shops, and native daughter Rihanna”.
In compiling the list, Travel + Leisure said: “For definitive answers on the best vacation spots of the moment, we hit the books scouring tourism statistics; scoping out major events; charting new flight routes and logging hotel debuts.”
Perhaps the most unique highlight of the destination in the article was next year’s national initiative, We Gatherin’.
“The country’s first female Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley sent out a rallying cry for anyone with Bajan roots to return to the island in 2020 to partake in a year-long calendar of events celebrating Bajan heritage and culture,” the article cited.
The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is working to promote We Gatherin’ in its top source markets, especially engaging the diaspora to get involved in the 52 weeks of events and investment opportunities which kick off on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, with a free picnic at River Bay, St. Lucy. For more on We Gatherin’ visit https://www.wegatherinbarbados.com
The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is working to promote We Gatherin’ in its top source markets, especially engaging the diaspora to get involved in the 52 weeks of events and investment opportunities which kick off on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, with a free picnic at River Bay, St. Lucy.
For more on We Gatherin’ visit https://www.wegatherinbarbados.com (BGIS)
November 12, 2019
St. Thomas has been named the number one cruise destination in the Caribbean.
Alani Henneman-Todman, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism +1 340 774-8784
Bevan Springer, Marketplace Excellence +1 201 861-2056
The "Best Caribbean Cruise Destination" honor was bestowed upon the island by Porthole Cruise Magazine's readers in its 21st Annual Readers' Choice Awards, the results of which are published in the November/December 2019 issue.
Award winners were determined by thousands of readers and online fans of the magazine, who voted for their favorites in 51 cruise-related categories.
"We are encouraged by this accolade, which tells us that even as we work on improving our visitor experience, we have an excellent foundation upon which to build," said Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism.
At the recent Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Puerto Rico, Governor of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Albert Bryan Jr. shared essential developments within the sector. These include dredging projects, the addition of a new port in the Charlotte Amalie harbor, improvements on Main Street and upland plans for Crown Bay.
"I always look forward to seeing the results of our Readers' Choice Awards because our readers are discerning travelers who have stunningly high standards for every part of the cruise experience," said Bill Panoff, publisher and editor-in-chief of Porthole Cruise Magazine.
"For St. Thomas to be voted the Best Caribbean Cruise Destination in the 2019 Readers' Choice Awards truly illustrates St. Thomas' stature as the gateway to the Caribbean and the absolutely stunning way that all the island has to offer - the landscape, the music, the food, the hospitality - really exceeds our readers' expectations," he added.
Commissioner Boschulte said the cruise industry is a critical pillar of the tourism sector and he was motivated by Governor Bryan's declaration to position the USVI as the number one tourism destination in the Caribbean by employing robust public-private partnerships.
Porthole Cruise Magazine is a leading cruise-travel magazine, available on newsstands and online.
October 31, 2019
Cruise Industry Shows It Is Open for Business with Destinations and Stakeholders at the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show
Cruise lines prove willingness to partner with destinations and stakeholders, with landmark agreements, historic delegations and the most-ever meetings taking center stage at the largest and only official cruise conference and trade show representing the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.
Miramar, FL (October 28, 2019) - The cruise industry embarked in San Juan, Puerto Rico last week with a clear message: cruise lines are ready, willing and able to partner with and invest in destinations and stakeholders for long-term mutual success. That message rang throughout the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show - the largest and only official cruise conference and trade show representing the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America, which took place Oct. 21-25 - through symbols including both the most presidents and above from FCCA Member Lines, which make up more than 95 percent of the global ocean cruising capacity, and the most meetings in the event's 26-year history, leading to everything from landmark agreements to opportunities for all participants.
"We cannot be more honored by the success of the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show because it truly represents mutual success for stakeholders and cruise lines," said Michele Paige, president, FCCA. "This is the event's, and the FCCA's, main mission and reason for creation, and it was on display by everything from 'historic' agreements for Saint Lucia to every attendee having an opportunity to meet with cruise executives that can benefit their business."
Nearly 150 high-level cruise executives, including 13 presidents and above, from FCCA Member Lines took part in the Conference's series of meetings, workshops and networking functions, as well as the Trade Show, which featured a revamped format offering exhibiting opportunities along with a host of private receptions and the most meetings in event history - with 467 pre-scheduled meetings for Trade Show Pavilion holders, including private meetings with presidents and above, as well as the first dedicated session with Shorex executives.
While every Delegate had opportunities to learn from and build business with the influential audience - including one-on-one meetings that were available with cruise executives who decide where ships call, what is sold and used onboard, and how to invest in destination products and developments - landmark agreements took center stage and served as an example of what the executives discussed during their speeches and workshops: cruise lines are looking to partner with and invest in destinations and stakeholders.
During the event, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Saint Lucia, a signing that Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Honourable Allen Chastanet called "historic" and "a major step towards enhancing Saint Lucia's tourism product."
As part of the MOU, the cruise companies and the government of Saint Lucia will establish a long-term concession agreement to formalize the terms and responsibilities for the joint venture to manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries. Additionally, the joint venture will design, finance, construct and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island that will be able to accommodate the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry
October 14, 2019
Bahamas continued support
The Cruise Industry Remains Committed to Both the Recovery of Grand Bahama and Abaco and Bringing More Guests to the Unaffected Majority of The Bahamas
Miramar, FL (October 14, 2019) - While the world mourns the destruction of Abaco and Grand Bahama and seeks ways to help the destinations build back better, the cruise industry continues to prove its commitment. Just a month after the historic event, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association that represents the mutual interests between the cruise industry and Caribbean and Latin American destinations and stakeholders, and its Member Lines, which operate more than 95 percent of the global ocean cruising capacity, have already provided and/or raised $8 million in donation pledges, more than 10 million pounds of food and supplies, 20,000 meals a day, hundreds of millions of dollars in accelerated investment plans and hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars focused on educating that most of The Bahamas is open, including 14 of its most-visited islands that are welcoming guests every day, and the best way consumers can help is to visit.
"Though we still mourn for all those impacted in Abaco and Grand Bahama, it is humbling and heartwarming to see our Member Lines' enormous effort to not only provide the necessary relief, but also work with those in the destination toward sustainable recovery," said Michele Paige, president, FCCA. "On behalf of FCCA, we are honored to help support that recovery in any way we can, and currently one of the best things any of us can do is visit The Bahamas, as nearly half of its GDP relies on tourism, and broadcast the message that most of its islands are open and welcoming guests every day."
FCCA Member Lines have already donated and/or raised $8 million in relief efforts for The Bahamas, while also launching efforts to collect and provide support, resulting in more than 10 million pounds of food and supplies - filling over 250 shipping containers - by Carnival Corporation; 20,000 meals per day, as well as water, medical supplies, generators, and a team of specially trained employees and volunteers to assist with logistics and food and beverage efforts by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; 400 pallets of humanitarian aid - along with 300 qualified volunteer and 150 Bahamians - on a single relief mission by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line; MSC Group using its cargo and cruise resources to help, with a focus on providing semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing; and Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also using their cruise ships to deliver supplies and support.*
Additionally, FCCA Member Lines have sent high-level delegations to work directly toward both providing the most impactful relief and building toward sustainable recovery, while also reaffirming and accelerating investment projects that represent $455 million by Carnival Corporation and RCCL.
FCCA Member Lines also worked with the destination to relaunch cruise tourism and re-inject its economic benefit as soon as possible, with cruise tourism calculated to have generated $405.75 million, in addition to 9,004 jobs paying $155.71 million in wage income, in The Bahamas during the 2017-18 cruise season and one average cruise call to the destination representing more than $650,000 in local economic benefits.
FCCA included The Bahamas in its award-winning, multi-faceted marketing campaign, Caribbean Is Open / Caribbean for Everyone, which began in September 2017 following Hurricanes Irma and Maria and generated more than 5.77 billion impressions, while showing a measurable improvement in Caribbean cruise bookings, between Oct. 2, 2017 - Oct. 28, 2018.
For initiatives tied to The Bahamas, focused on educating that most of The Bahamas is open, including 14 of its most-visited islands that are welcoming guests every day, and the best way consumers can help is to visit, as of Oct. 11, the efforts have already generated an audience of 78,656,435; 490 media placements; and promoted content with 13,873 clicks, 17,987 engagements and 150,527 video views with 59,357 minutes viewed, on track for more than 200,000 views by the end of October on social media alone - and other planned initiatives including the cover story in Travel & Cruise, the official magazine of the cruise industry, and sponsored e-mail content in partnership with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Additionally, FCCA has remained in constant contact with The Bahamas, while leveraging its resources throughout the industry to help the destination and its people in any way possible, including assisting to coordinate relief efforts and meetings, as well as providing numerous ways for Bahamian locals to further capitalize on the cruise industry's economic potential.
Many of those opportunities and discussions will be engaged at the upcoming FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show, the largest and only official cruise conference and trade show in the Caribbean. With more than 150 high-level executives, including a record number of chairmen and above, from FCCA Member Lines on hand for the series of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities from Oct. 21-25, the #BahamasStrong delegation will have the chance to work directly with the cruise industry, and FCCA has coordinated specialized meetings and events for the delegation.
*For more information about individual FCCA Member Line relief efforts, please visit www.f-cca.com/relief.
May 23, 2019
Re-branding the Bahamas
Caribbeantoday.com/ Author Dawn A. Davis
When planning a vacation to The Bahamas most holiday makers automatically think of Nassau, the bustling modern capital, Freeport, the second city on Grand Bahamas island, or Bimini, known for its pristine beaches. But, there is so much more to the Bahamas than these three well-known destinations. Thus, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is on a mission to change all that.
Ellison Tommy Thompson“We are promoting The Bahamas with a 16-island strategy. We are introducing the individual names of the islands of The Bahamas, with each island being branded according to what the island can deliver,” explained Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson, the Tourism Ministry’s Deputy Director General.
Caribbean Today caught up with Thompson recently at a Bahamas marketing event held on the Seafair mega yacht in the Miami bay.
A mere ‘shouting’ distance from Miami, Florida, The Bahamas is an archipelago of islands that stretches over 100,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean dotted with large and small islands, and many cays, all with different characteristics. It is these differences the Deputy Director General is promoting.
Said Thompson: “If you go to Crooked island, that’s a bone fishing paradise. And the neighbouring island, Acklins, least known of all the islands and a pristine natural wonder, will showcase its unique beauty with the first annual Cascarilla Festival this June.”
The Cascarilla herb, known for magical powers of protection and cleansing, is also a major ingredient in the Italian liqueur Campari.
“Cascarilla is a huge business,” he added. “So, we’re trying to make it as sustainable as possible. The aim of the festival is to get the younger people involved in it, so we’re working with the schools. We have acres of farmland, and we will give some of that to the schools so that they can get students involved in sustainability of the crop and also teaching them the financial benefits of the business.”
Another festival which takes place in March each year is the Mutton Festival on Long Island. The two days of festivities highlights the creativity of Long Islanders in the creation of mutton dishes.
“Part of what we’re doing is to look at how do we create economic benefits from tourism. Our branded festivals are a great way to draw attention to these islands and also to bring business to the islands,” Thompson emphasised.
Rockstar Lenny Kravitz
Giving a boost to the marketing strategy, the Tourism Ministry has Partnered with rockstar Lenny Kravitz to bring a dash of celebrity status to the islands. Indeed, the famous singer/songwriter’s Bahamian heritage and his occasional presence on the islands, even before he became a household name, lends authenticity to the advertising and marketing rollout.
A well-produced television commercial featuring Kravitz walking on an expansive beach, talking to locals, and driving along the coastline with his hit song “Fly Away” playing in the background skillfully beckons visitors to The Bahamas.
“So, we have superstar Lenny, but also you have the nice, real authentic, unfiltered Bahamian telling the story of their particular island. We try to infuse more of the culture of The Bahamas in a very authentic way,” said a beaming Thompson.
Thompson added: “We’ve created a Tourism Development Corporation that is looking at ways to get Bahamians involved in the ownership of tourism. If you have a bed and breakfast, give tours, or sell souvenirs, we are trying to get more diversification in tourism.”
In fact, according to the Deputy Director General, 2018 was a record breaking year for The Bahamas with more than 6.6 million visitors, a significant 486,176 increase over figures recorded in 2017. He also revealed that forward bookings (measured March to May) are looking extremely healthy, with international arrivals running 9 percent ahead of last year. And, with its new rebranding strategy, the Lenny Kravitz expected ‘effect’, and a strong repeat customer base, visitor numbers are again expected to beat the previous year.
Part of the ‘effect’ is expected to reach potential visitors further afield, evident in the Ministry’s recent trips to Canada, Germany, and New York to promote The Bahamas. However, Thompson acknowledged that about 80 percent of the tourism business to The Bahamas comes from North America (the US and Canada). And, just 50 miles off the Bahamian coast, Florida is dubbed number one for visitors to the islands.
“We see ourselves as a global brand. We know where our major market is, but part of the tourism marketing strategy is also reaching potential visitors from across the globe.”
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