Bahamas Tourist Office's Anita Johnson-Patty, General Manager Communications & Paul Strachan, Director
It’s no doubt that Calgarians have been tightening their belts over the last year. Many Caribbean destinations have noticed a significant decrease in visitors from YYC including our friends at the Bahamas Tourist Office.
So what do we do in these tough economic times? According to Paul Strachan, Canada’s Director of the Bahamas Tourist Office, they’ve re-strategized and are putting the focus on destination weddings, vow renewals and honeymoons. He suggests that agents do the same.
“Romance is recession proof,” Strachan said at a recent luncheon held in YYC’s Centini Restaurant. “No matter what the economic climate is, people will still pull out all the stops to celebrate romance. You can get married on one island, then honeymoon on another.”
While Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island remain the most popular wedding destinations within the Bahamas, Strachan urges agents to consider the remaining Out Islands, which offer one-of-a-kind experiences. “Each island has their own unique flare and flavour.”
In celebrating romance and promoting the many islands Bahamas has to offer, Strachan and his team have come up with a chance-of-a-lifetime contest – “16.16.16”. 16 couples will win the destination wedding of their dreams, taking place in 16 different exotic Bahamas locations on November 16, 2016 at 1600h.
According to Strachan, sharing this contest with your destination wedding clients may have a large return on investment for you – think of all the extended family and friends that will need travel arrangements if they win! “We’d like to have a winner from Calgary,” he said. “Most of the submissions have come from Toronto so far.”
To assist agents with future travel planning, the Bahamas has a long list of new developments coming online that Strachan says will help maintain the Bahamas’ affinity with Canadians and keep the destination at the forefront of the world.
Just to name a few:
Opening next month is the Warwick Paradise Island Resort – the only adults-only, all-inclusive on the island;
In the heart of Nassau, The Pointe should be complete in 2017, boasting an array of amenities such as hotel and residences, shopping and dining options, a marina, yacht club, movie theatre and performing arts theatre.
Upscale brands like Aman and Four Seasons will be available in the Out Islands, as well as a new cruise port on Sandy Cay.
And to make getting to the Out Islands more convenient for international visitors, airport improvements are in the works for Eleuthera, Exuma, San Salvador and Bimini.
While WestJet and Sunwing’s non-stop, seasonal services to Bahamas from YYC will be coming to an end shortly, both airlines including Air Canada offer many connection options thru YYZ.
For the Islands of the Bahamas, 2016 is the “Year of Romance” and that should give travel agents warm and cozy feelings too.