Ministry of Tourism
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
A group of over 200 travel agents converged on Freeport, Grand Bahama over the weekend as part of The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s (BPCL) promotion and industry seminar event.
The travel agent event was jointly sponsored and hosted by BPCL and the sales team of The Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO), Florida, who were joined by local stakeholders including BTO’s Grand Bahama branch and various hotels and resorts.
The trip included a cruise aboard the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line from Port of Palm Beach, Florida down to Freeport, Grand Bahama. There were several receptions aboard the ship and a presentation hosted by BPCL.
In Freeport, the group visited the hotels that are a part of the ship’s unique Cruise and Stay Program including The Viva Wyndham all-inclusive Resort, The Pelican Bay Hotel, The Grand Lucayan Lighthouse Point Resort and Flamingo Bay Hotel and Taino Beach Resort.
Events culminated in a reception featuring Bahamian favourites, conch fritters and Bahama Mama drinks, at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort.
The presentation hosted by BPCL included the sales team of the Bahamas Tourist Office and was hailed by some of the agents as one of the most important features of the fun-filled weekend. Agents said that they found the presentation very educational as it provided information on all that the cruise has to offer.
Both entities thanked the large group of agents for taking part in the weekend event. “We need you, we can’t do it without you,” Clark Reber, BPCL Director of Sales said. “Travel agents are at the heart of what we do.”
Betty Bethel, Director of Sales BTO Florida said that The Bahamas recently experienced one of its largest ever increases in visitor arrivals to the country, including Grand Bahama, and that 30 per cent of the business to the islands was as a result of travel agent bookings. She told the agents that the numbers to Freeport are climbing and added: “We are looking forward to seeing another growth spurt.”
Clark Reber shared with agents that BPCL has many best kept secrets including, “big staterooms, lots and lots of open deck spaces, no single supplements and even a welcome reception for solo travelers.”
He added that the ship’s casino is smoke free and that the cruise offers interactive programs for kids from three to 17 years.
Reber also shared that the ship’s demographics are mostly millennials with the largest demographic being ages 24-35, and the second biggest demographic being 18-24. He did note however that, while millennials mostly dominate the weekend sailings, the age 55 and above were mostly represented on the midweek sailings.
The Bahamas Paradise Cruise line is a year-round, two-night cruise that sails daily from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. Nearby airports within driving distance of the cruise port include Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. It was also announced during the presentation on the ship that the Cruise Line recently entered a new partnership with Florida’s Brightline train system. The Cruise Line also provides valet parking.
Tina Lee, District Manager, BTO Florida, said the trip was a great opportunity to work on establishing relationships.
Last weekend’s event was a part of the final phase of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation’s initiative to drive business to Freeport. Over the past weeks the Tourist Office conducted a number of Travel Agent Presentations and events throughout South Florida and Orlando, entitled “Summertime in Freeport.”
The first trip to Freeport (as a part of the initiative) took place on Balearia Caribbean Ferry the first week of June. The final event will take place in July when travel agents will fly out of Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida via Bahamasair and stay two nights at the Grand Lucayan’s Lighthouse Point Resort.
Travel agents expressed differing views on what was the highlight of the weekend but many of them spoke highly of the stop in Freeport and especially enjoyed what one described as a “picture perfect day with lots of sunshine and beautiful blue skies.”
The agents hailed mostly from parts of Florida, although a few were from as far as Alabama and Mississippi. They said they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the cruise especially the food and the entertainment, which surpassed their expectations.
One of the agents said: “The weekend of activities allowed us to experience everything to equip us to be able to tell clients of this fun and easy way to enjoy both a cruise and a fun time in a tropical destination for a ‘two-for-one’ vacation experience.”
More photos at Bahamas.com.