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Increased airlift to help GB offset Canadian slump

Increased airlift and a renewed focus on the US market will help Grand Bahama recover from a downturn in its Canadian visitor arrivals, according to Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board Chairman Russell Miller. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Increased airlift and a renewed focus on the US market will help Grand Bahama recover from a downturn in its Canadian visitor arrivals, according to Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB) chairman Russell Miller.

In the first quarter of 2016, air arrivals to Grand Bahama declined by 30 per cent from the previous year, said Miller who attributed the falling numbers to the recent devaluation of the Canadian dollar.


To revive the industry, the GBITB is concentrating its efforts on the lucrative US market and, in partnership with the Grand Bahama Ministry of Tourism, has introduced new air routes to the island from the States.

In May, carrier Sunwing began a programme of flights from major US hubs with the launch of four new routes from Dallas, Houston, Nashville and Pittsburgh. Miller says these have already been very successful with 100 per cent fulfilment on the Dallas and Houston routes, 98 per cent for Nashville and 90 per cent in Pittsburgh.

In July, Sunwing will add Philadelphia, Newark and Baltimore. In August, Cincinnati and Chicago will come onstream and, a month later, be joined by Boston. All flights will run through to September to catch the summer market.

“We are hopeful that the fall off we have seen in the Canadian market is going to be offset by the US market,” said Miller. “Advance bookings are looking very strong, we are seeing a nice uptick on the airlift and we are quite happy with that.”

Bahamas Air is also adding a new flight to its Freeport routes this month with a direct flight from Orlando running three times a week. Miller says interest in the flight is high and adds that South Florida is a major market for Grand Bahama.

Next week sees the introduction of two new flights to Miami with American Airlines, the early morning and late night routes making it easier for business travellers and day trippers.

In the future, the GBITB hopes to bring a low fare airline to Freeport and is also working to introduce flights to New York – another key market for the island.

cmorris@dupuch.com

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell addressed the Organization of American States General Assembly 14 June, 2016. Read his statement here.

Members of the Greater Houston Black Chamber paid a courtesy call on the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce during a recent visit for a discussion on investment possibilities and networking opportunities in Grand Bahama.

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