New Non-Stop Air Service To Boost Grand Bahama Tourism

FREEPORT - A new non-stop air service set to begin next month is expected to boost visitor arrivals to Grand Bahama.

In an effort to promote the new service, Vision Airlines and tourism stakeholders have been hosting US travel experts on familiarisation trips to the island.

At 11.15am today, a Vision flight will arrive with a group of 60 travel agents, writers, and meeting planners from Louisville, Kentucky - the third in a series of planned familiarisation trips.

Around 200 travel experts - 179 travel agents, six meeting planners and 25 journalists from Raleigh, NC, and Baltimore, MD - have already visited and spent the night at the Grand Lucayan Resort.

Tourism arrivals to Grand Bahama have been in decline since 2004, following the closure of the Royal Oasis Resort due to hurricane damage.

The 900-room hotel represented one third of the island's hotel room inventory.

The Radisson Grand Lucayan Beach and Golf Resort, now the only anchor resort property, has been struggling with low occupancy.

The resort, in conjunction with Vision Airlines, has entered into a contract to start air service to the island from five major US cities on November 3.

It is hoped that the fam trips will result in the promotion of Grand Bahama as an affordable destination.

The travel experts are greeted by tourism officials upon arrival at the Grand Bahama International Airport.

While on island, they attend mini trade shows and destination presentations at the Grand Lucayan Resort.

They also visit local attractions and take part in tours and excursions, including a ferry ride and lunch at the Junkanoo Beach Club.

Other excursions include: the Dolphin Encounter, a Jeep tour, and the West End and East End Experience.

Each group is treated to a welcome reception on the resort's great lawn, and takes a full tour of the property.

Vision will fly from:

* Ft Lauderdale, FL

* Louisville, KY

* Baltimore/Washington

* Richmond, VA

* Raleigh/Durham, NC

Tourism director general David Johnson said he expects to see a turnaround in the arrival numbers to Grand Bahama as a result of the new flights.

The Tribune
Published On:Thursday, October 13, 2011