What’s it like in Nassau these days? Paul Strachan shares his story

What’s it like in Nassau these days? Paul Strachan shares his story

TORONTO — Looking to help spread the word that The Bahamas is open to visitors, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is sharing with the trade this Q&A with Sr. Director, Sales and Marketing, Paul Strachan.

As Strachan recently visited Nassau, here are his insights and feedback…

What’s it like in Nassau these days? Paul Strachan shares his story

Q. You recently travelled to Nassau – can you tell us what the experience was like, both at Pearson and arriving in Nassau?

Strachan: My experience at both airports went smoothly. Pearson was just fine and of course in Nassau I was greeted by the balmy air of The Bahamas!

At Pearson, there were two additional line-ups due to COVID. The first is just prior to approaching the kiosk or check-in counter to ensure that each customer has the correct COVID documents and/or health visa for their respective travel destination.

The second ‘new’ line is to check each person’s temperature just before approaching TSA. All smooth and easy to navigate with lots of airline officials providing direction and guidance.

At Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, the only change was the temperature check upon arrival immediately prior to approaching Immigration. All smooth, lots of signage and lots of airport staff providing guidance.

Overall, a pleasant experience at both airports.

Q. What’s life like in Nassau now – shops, restaurants? Have the casinos reopened? Can visitors take tours?

Strachan: Many shops and restaurants are open, but it is visibly very slow and completely devoid of visitors. I have never seen Paradise Island like this – the beaches there are completely empty. We’re hopeful that this will all change in the next few days when Atlantis and Baha Mar re-open. The casinos are still closed, but visitors can take tours.

Q. What’s the state of The Bahamas’ tourism industry right now? From Canada?

Strachan: It is still very slow as many hotels are slated to re-open next week. The number of visitors from Canada is also currently quite low. We only have one Air Canada flight from Toronto at the moment. We anticipate this this will change as the hotels re-open and Air Canada ramps up their service. By January, we should be up to 4 flights per week out of both Montreal and Toronto to Nassau.

Q. How quickly do you see The Bahamas’ tourism industry rebounding once the coronavirus pandemic ends?

Strachan: I think we will rebound quickly as consumers are already showing a lot of interest. We are confident people will be ready to travel once again in the coming months, and our proximity and variety of islands and vacation experiences will be quite appealing. We offer such a diverse product; from large casino resorts to boutique hotels on secluded islands, that would be appealing to those of varying comfort levels of travel during and post the COVID pandemic.

Q. How do you plan to attract visitors in 2021?

Strachan: We plan to use a variety of marketing tactics including a more personal touch with marketing communications inviting visitors to the destination using a story telling approach featuring authentic Bahamians, and of course with the use of our brand ambassador Lenny Kravitz.

Q. Some Bahamian islands – such as New Providence (Nassau), Grand Bahama (Freeport) and Exuma – are well-known. What are some of the lesser-known islands able to do to help attract visitors?

Strachan: I have heard that in every crisis there is opportunity. The pandemic has meant that many people are looking to get away from the crowds. We think that for these islands, there is an opportunity to promote themselves as the perfect getaway for those in search of tranquility and seclusion, those looking to escape larger crowds and the stresses of dealing with the COVID pandemic for the past 10 months.

Q. Do The Bahamas have a plan for recovery? Can you talk about that plan?

Strachan: Yes. We have been working on our recovery plan and it is ready for roll-out. There is a big direct to consumer component but we think this is going to support the trade as well by helping to create demand.

Q. Any message for the travel professional community whose businesses are struggling during the pandemic?

Strachan: We’re all in this together and we are here to support as best we can. We’ll soon be launching new sales, educational and promotional tools to generate leads, to assist with closing sales and to reward bookings to The Islands of The Bahamas.