TORONTO — The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation is on a mission, with two key messages for its trade partners and travellers.
Message #1: The Bahamas is promoting tourism to not just one, not just two, but 16 major islands. “16 islands, and 16 experiences, and 16 vacations in one,” says the BMOTIA’s Director General, Latia Duncombe.
Message #2: All the info, tools and helpful resources travel advisors need to sell and promote The Bahamas can be found at Bahamas.com. That includes a link to the Bahamas Specialist Programme, found via the Travel Agents portal on Bahamas.com.
The newly appointed Duncombe was joined by Executive Director of Global Sales, Valery Brown-Alce and other members of the BMOTIA senior executive team at a reception yesterday in Toronto, including Paul Strachan, Executive Director of Global Communications, and Steven Johnson, Director of Tourism, Canada & China.
The event took place at the brand new home of The Bahamas Tourist Office in Canada, in the heart of midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton. The Bahamas wants to be a lot more front and centre with Canadian travel advisors, and the new centrally-located offices are just the start.
“We invest in our travel advisor partners, and we focus on keeping them well-informed,” said Duncombe, as she highlighted the benefits of becoming a Bahamas Specialist. Those benefits include partner inclusion and showcases, ready-to-go marketing collateral, integrated high-impact sales tools, a real-time product directory, insider tips, promotions and more.
The Bahamas.com site also offers curated stories, experiences and island-by-island info, she added, noting that the site’s resources are helpful for both the trade and consumers. The site also includes dates and other details for The Bahamas’ much-loved festivals, events and regattas.
REBOUND “EXTREMELY STRONG”
The Bahamas’ rebound and recovery has been “extremely strong,” said Duncombe.
While some destinations are hoping 2023 is the year they get back to 2019 numbers, The Bahamas hit those benchmarks in 2022. The islands recorded 7.2 million visits in 2019 and hit the 7 million mark again by the end of 2022. While the Canadian market had a later start than other markets, like the U.S., Canada’s performance so far has been “very encouraging,” says Duncombe.
Cruising, always a very strong market for The Bahamas, is back in a big way too, and also back to 2019 levels, with 5.4 million cruise passengers spending time in The Bahamas in 2022. Nassau’s newly renovated and expanded cruise port will debut soon, after four years of work and a US$300 million investment.
The decision to promote and market 16 islands in The Bahamas is not a new undertaking, but a more concerted approach, says Duncombe. Along with traditional favourites Nassau & Paradise Island, and Freeport Grand Bahama Island, there’s The Abacos; Acklins & Crooked Island; Andros; The Berry Islands; Bimini; Cat Island; Eleuthera & Harbour Island; The Exumas; Inagua; Long Island; Mayaguana; Ragged Island; Rum Cay; and San Salvador.
Travellers can opt for inter-island flights with BahamasAir, or ferry service. Airlines operating flights from Canada to The Bahamas include Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet.
Caption for main photo (above): Paul Strachan, Executive Director of Global Communications, BMOTIA; Sunwing’s EVP, Partner Development, Eric Rodriguez; Latia Duncombe, Director General, BMOTIA; Valery Brown-Alce, Executive Director of Global Sales, BMOTIA; Steven Johnson, Director of Tourism, Canada & China, BMOTIA