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Optimism for Grand Bahama Summer Program

Optimism for Grand Bahama Summer Program ( GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND - Coming off a favorable first quarter for 2015 and perhaps the best hotel occupancy in 11 years, the Grand Bahama Island tourism sector anticipates continued growth in the number of visitor arrivals over the second quarter as well. Resort operators are now focused on anticipated inflows from eight USA gateways, commencing May 21 and continuing through October 26, 2015.

Tourism partners are reportedly delighted that second annual Summer Program promoted under the umbrella of United States Tour Operator Vacation Express is projecting very strong advance bookings for Grand Bahama’s All-inclusive and EP resorts.

Chairman of the Grand Bahama Tourism Board, Russell Miller while reflecting the overall hotel occupancy of 68.76%, for the first quarter, said “the advance bookings for the summer program have already exceeded 10,000 passengers, and has surpassed last year’s total bookings.”

The Sunwing Airlines new Boeing 737-800, 189 seat jet aircraft will depart from Baltimore, MD, Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, Houston, TX, Nashville, TN, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, PA, with 4 and 7 night rotations from Newark, NJ. The larger aircraft has an increased seating capacity of 26%.

The Sunwing Travel Group, which includes Vacation Express and Grand Celebration are the leading suppliers of stopover business to the island. The Sunwing Travel Club delivered 20% of stopovers followed by Grand Celebration at 12% an increase of 8.27%; followed by Vacation Express 7% and Expedia 6%. Fifty percent of the hotels bookings reflect corporate sources, meetings and conventions, groups and business travel.

In recognition of the need to improve the delivery of satisfying vacation experiences within and around the resort premises and tourist activities, The Ministry of Tourism in partnership with private sector organizations has increased the number of participants in customer service skills development training programs.

“This summer, our visitors can expect to participate in more than ten unique annual cultural events that are being held throughout the island, at locations outside of the resort environment”, said Director of Tourism for Grand Bahama, Betty Bethel.

“These special cultural events vary in type and presentation, including but not limited to traditional sloop sailing competitions during the Grand Bahama Regatta in June, the authentically Grand Bahamian Goombay Summer Festival, July, the Grand Bahama Gospel Fest and the 42nd Annual McLean’s Town Conch Cracking Festival in October.”

The advertising and promotional campaign to support the Summer Program will consist of online and off-line media placement in combination with in market sales promotions in gateway markets, June 16 – September 21. Also on-island familiarization visits for more than 250 partners from the travel agent/trade community, over the same period, will be hosted by participating resorts.

Special emphasis will be placed on the vertical markets, including wedding and honeymoon and meeting planners.

Recapping the destination performance from 2012 to 2014 Deputy Director-General of Tourism, Ellison “Tommy” Thompson reported that, “In 2013, 80% of the stopover visitors to Grand Bahama were from the United States, 8% were from Canada, 7% were from Europe, 1% were from Latin America and 1% were from the Caribbean. By the end of 2014, only 73% of the stopover visitors to GBI were from the USA and 16% were from Canada. Stopover arrivals to Grand Bahama Island grew by 27% between January 2014 to December 2014.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brooke Sherman-Grant, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism,

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