Resorts In Favour of MOT's Free Airfare Promotion

The Government is launching a free airfare promotion to the Family Islands through private airlines in order to increase travel outside Nassau/Paradise Island, and possibly boost domestic tourism, the Minister of Tourism and Aviation said yesterday.

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said a promotion will be rolled out on March 15, 2010, that allows guests of resorts on the 14 major islands free airfare on a Bahamian carrier after purchase of a minimum four-night stay.

"Rather than wait for the completion of our grand plan to bring all of these carriers into the GDS formally, we have found a way to get them directly involved in the distribution system, starting next week," he said.

"So I am delighted to announce today that we have found a way to launch the following offer, starting on or about March 15: 'Fly Free from Nassau to any of 14 Islands of the Bahamas'."

Mr Vanderpool-Wallace said the free companion airfare promotion has allowed the Ministry of Tourism to offer this deal to the Family Islands "using all of our existing scheduled Bahamian carriers".

He added that Bahamians will also benefit from the free airfare deal, while enjoying reduced rates at Family Island hotels and resorts.

"We believe that this has the potential to be the best domestic tourism offer ever," said Mr Vanderpool-Wallace.

"And that is still not all. At some participating hotels in the Family Islands, the presentation of your Bahamian passport will deliver Bahamians further discounts.

"Whenever we ask Bahamians why they do not travel to our Family Islands, more often than not the answer is 'It's Too Expensive'."

The owner of the South Andros resort, Emerald Palms, hailed the deal as a great effort to help "us out".

Rashna Cussen said it was great that the Ministry of Tourism was working to quell one of the biggest challenges to Family Island hotels.

"Somebody is paying attention to the Out Islands," she said.

Mrs Cussen said South Andros had not received enough attention, especially in the way of airlift.

Emerald Palms is expecting an influx of guests through the Bahamas Bonefish Bash, which could cost many of its guests up to $1,000 per person for travel between South Florida and Andros.

Mrs Cussen said she hopes the fly-fishing tournament, which benefits the Bahamas National Trust, could benefit from the free airfare promotion.

Source: The Tribune