Bahamas Brand Shines At Sun n Fun International Expo In Lakeland, Florida April 5-10, 2016 Event Attended By More Than 200,000 Persons

It is estimated that some two hundred and twenty five thousand aviation enthusiasts attended the 42nd Annual Sun n Fun International Fly In and Expo held, April 5-10, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida this past week where The Islands of The Bahamas were prominently featured.  

The Sun n Fun International Fly In and Expo which is the largest convention in Florida and the second largest aviation show in the world, displayed more than ten thousand aircrafts ranging from light sport home built to War birds and held daily and evening airshows featuring the Islands of The Bahamas.

Some of The Bahamas’ leading hoteliers participated in the weeklong show to promote their hotel properties and services to the influential and affluent patrons, including Grand Isle Resort and Farmer’s Cay in Exuma, Small Hope Bay Lodge (Andros), Valentine’s Inn (Eleuthera), Fernandez Bay Village (Cat Island), Resorts World Bimini, Old Bahama Bay (Freeport), the Grand Bahama Island Promotion Board hotel properties as well as Banyan, one of The Bahamas’ preferred fixed base operators in Florida.

Throughout the week, members of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT) team participated in live radio and television broadcasts on numerous stations to promote its 700 Islands chain.

The BMOT in conjunction with the US Customs and border control departments also organized several one-on-one seminars for private pilots, which were conducted by Terry Carbonell, associate woman pilot flying ambassador.  All of the seminars were attended to capacity seated crowds.

According to Terry Spurlock, Sr. Flying Ambassador for The Bahamas, “the turnout for our seminars this year, were three times larger than last year, and the interest level in The Bahamas has been phenomenal,” he said. 

“Over the years we have conducted hundreds of fly ins to The Bahamas and a lot of the business we receive from Sun n Fun benefits the Family Islands.  This year we saw an increase in interest in The Bahamas, particularly from newbies, pilots wanting to fly to The Bahamas but have never done so before.  As Bahamas Flying Ambassadors and seasoned private pilots with extensive experience in flying to and around the Islands of The Bahamas, we take great pride in showing these newbies, just how easy and beautiful it is to fly there,” he said.

Captain Greg Rolle, Sr. Director of Sales, Marketing and Sports for the BMOT, said “he could not have been more pleased with the outcome of this year’s Sun n Fun Expo, especially for our hoteliers, who would have had an opportunity to speak directly to private pilots and arrange fly-ins and other profitable opportunities for their resort”. 

Jeff Todd, Director of Communications for the Grand Isle Resort and new Farmers Cay project, echoed Captain Rolle’s statement. “I am absolutely blown away by the high quality of clientele I saw and spoke to at this expo, which has exceeded my expectations in every way.  Based on the response from the pilots, there is a clear demand for new destinations and to do business with us in The Bahamas and we have received more leads than we can count”, he said.

Rolle added that “The Bahamas’ partnership with Sun n Fun over the past ten years has proven to be very rewarding, especially for our Family Islands.  In 2015, 70,489 persons visited The Bahamas by private plane.  That number also represents an 8% increase over the previous year, in 2014.  The economic impact on the island communities across The Bahamas of these 70,000 plus visitors who come by private plane is far reaching, and we extend an open invitation to private pilots to come and explore our islands,” he said. 

“As part of our partnership with Sun n Fun, we are always looking at ways to strengthen our relationship and increase tourism opportunities while preserving the aviation industry,” he said.

“We are delighted that in just a few days, the BMOT along with Sun n Fun will hold a historic aerobatic Air Show and Youth Seminar in Grand Bahama, April 15-16, 2016 at Taino Beach,” he concluded.

Media Contact: D. Earnestine Moxyz | Bahamas Ministry of Tourism | emoxyz@bahamas.com

Photo Caption (5)    Photos courtesy of Kenneth Strohm.

1. Bahamas representatives at the 42nd Sun n Fun International Fly In and Expo in Lakeland,

Florida.  From left to right:  Elizabeth Vance, Aviation; Ron Gale, Sun n Fun Radio, 1510 AM; Earnestine Moxyz, Communications, Hilda James, Sports and Donna Ash, Sports.

2. Throughout the weeklong Aviation Expo, pilots showed great interest in flying into The Bahamas and stopped by the BMOT booth to ensure that they received the necessary documents to do so. On hand to assist them were Earnestine Moxyz, MOT Global Communications and Terry Spurlock, Sr. Flying Ambassador for The Bahamas.

3.  MOT’s team conducted several radio broadcasts during the weeklong Expo, including one on Sun n Fun Radio, 1510 AM.

4.  Bahamas MOT staff held a special dinner reception, for its hoteliers, Flying Ambassadors, Sun n Fun executives and loyal clients.

5. Capacity crowd - pilots listened attentively to Flying Ambassador, Terry Carbonell, as she shared on the policies, procedures and documents required for flying into The Bahamas.