The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation delegates lead by Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, as well as numerous industry partners took media outlets and tour operators in Canada on a whirlwind tour of the Islands of the Bahamas, solidifying the messaging of the Bahamas being a viable destination for the Canadian tourists, despite the impact of Hurricane Dorian. “Following Hurricane Dorian, we felt that it was absolutely critical to come and let the Canadian market know that we are open for business and to introduce The Bahamas to new aspects of the Canadian market,” remarked Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Director General, Joy Jibrilu, “as far west as Vancouver, there is huge potential to market the country.”
Canada is the second largest country in the world and the second largest source market for visitor arrivals to The Bahamas next to the United States. Throughout the first seven months of 2019 an estimated 3.7 million Canadian arrivals to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America representing a YOY increase of 4.3%. Canadian visitor arrivals to The Bahamas increased by 14% YOY in 2017-2018. During the months of January through September, Canadian arrivals paced 10.5% ahead of the same in 2018. “The tourism industry had an historic year in 2018 and has maintained momentum right up to Dorian’s arrival. International arrivals to the Bahamas increased by just over 13% in August, including 2.1% growth from Canada. Air capacity from Canada was up 7% and fall bookings were looking strong,” remarked D’Aguilar, “it’s not business as usual in the Bahamas- that will be years away but this is a major step to be present in the Canadian market to regain momentum.”
Joining this promotional expedition with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation included Fred Lounsberry, CEO, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Karin Salinas, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Baha Mar, Ana Cerna, Director of International Marketing for Rosewood Baha Mar, Bryan Gay Sr. Vice President of Sales at Atlantis Paradise Island, Sydney Engel, Director of Public Relations for Atlantis Paradise Island, Amy Mecl, Vice President Leisure Sales for Atlantis Paradise Island, Franco Pill Vice President of Business Development for Atlantis Paradise Island, Yasmine Strachan Director of Sales, Comfort Suites Paradise Island, Sobieda Feliz, Director of Sales Warwick Paradise Island, Phillippe Gringas, Associate Director of Sales, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Lilly Carr, Leisure Sales Manager, Rosewood Baha Mar, Cristina Diaz, Leisure Sales Manager, Melia, James Burrows, Group Sales Manager, SLS Baha Mar, Robert Garzaroli, Principle, Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, Elaine and Brent Carnegie, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Regia Knowles, Director of Operations Sunrise Beach Club, Hedda Smith, Sales Manager, Superclub Breezes, L’Oreal Sweeting, Out Islands Promotion Board, Jeff Todd, Communications Manager, Grand Isle Resort & Spa, Barbara Dirnberger, National Sales Manager, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines, Carmel Churchill, Sales Manager, Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, Barbara Spychalla, Operations Manager, Valentines Resort & Marina, William Saunders Jr. Director, Majestic Tours Bahamas, Juan Moss, CEO Leisure Travel and Tours, Michael Symonette, CEO, Bahamas Experience Tours, Juan Carlos Ruiz, Sales Manager Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach, Craig Thomas Director of Sales and Marketing, Margaritaville Bahamas, Donne Nixon, Business Development Manager Sandals Resorts, Krista Cardona Sales Manager, Air Canada Vacations, Emily Spadafora, Andrei Losinski and Christopher Brothers, Sales Managers WestJet Vacations, Lorraine Brisbois corporate manager, Sunwing Vacations and Nancy Drolet Business Development Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Ministry of Tourism officials are hopeful that the media blitz will strengthen sales efforts and add an intimate appeal to the Canadian tourist to visit the Bahamas. “We’ve had a record-breaking year with the Canadian market, and we are looking to continue that trend.” stated Jibrilu.