Bahamas tourism industry partners, comprising hoteliers and marina operators throughout the islands, who attended the 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Show (FLIBS) said they were totally impressed with the high level of interest shown in The Bahamas and business bookings for the 2018. 

FLIBS, the largest boating show in the United States, attracted more than 100,000 persons from 52 countries around the world and showcased some1500 plus in-water boats and 1200 exhibitors.

The Bahamas participation at FLIBS was organized by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) vertical team; along with the Out island Promotion Board and Association of Bahamas Marinas, in conjunction with Informa, organizers for the US International Boat Shows.  The Bahamas also saw representation from many of its leading hotels and marina partners including Bahamasair, Atlantis Marina, Bay Street Marina, Bluff House, Highbourne Cay Marina, Hope Town Inn and Marina, Odyssey Aviation, Palm Cay Marina, Grand Bahama Yacht Club, Resorts World Bimini, Romora Bay Resort and Marina, Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Watermakers Air, Treasure Cay Beach Hotel and Marina, Valentine’s Resort and Marina, Tropic Ocean Airways and the Chat n Chill Bar and Restaurant.

2018 has been a banner year for boating in The Bahamas.  “In 2018, the BMOTA saw boating numbers double in some islands and saw an overall increase in numbers for the same periods in 2017.  In 2016, we accommodated some 18, 595 pleasure boaters and in 2017, that number increased to 21,090 pleasure boaters.  From all indications and based on the 2018 boating performance thus far, we anticipate that 2018 will exceed previous years performance by as much as 50%,” said Richard Treco, Senior Manager, BMOTA responsible for boating.

“No other vertical market provides the economic level of spinoffs into the communities that boating does; it has the greatest economic impact in our family islands and truly trickles down to every sector in our communities from the marina shop operator, fuel provider, restaurant and hotel operator, to the mom and pop sundry store,” said Mr. Treco.

The majority of The Bahamas hotel and marina operators, who attended FLIBS, echoed the sentiments shared by Mr. Treco.   

Rob Batchelor, CEO of the 184 slips Palm Cay Marina, which opened in 2011 and has been voted the number one marina facility in The Bahamas by Active Captain, for the past four consecutive years, said his property has seen a substantial increase in bookings and strong business interest in The Bahamas, this past year.

“We are currently discussing a big venture with one of the leading boating operators in the US to make Palm Cay its hub and main point of entry. This venture, which is scheduled to come on stream in 2019, will benefit us significantly,” he said.    

“Additionally, our initial high-end development, comprising more than 150, two and three bedroom townhouses, condos and beachfront homes, is almost completely sold out.  Plans are underway for us to further develop 80 additional homes, and 2 and 3 bedroom condos; inclusive of two penthouses, with its own roof top, swimming pools; prices of which will range from $800,000 (US) for a 2 bedroom condo to $1.9 million dollars for its penthouse apartments,” he said.  

“Our attendance at FLIBS not only allows us to do business directly with our targeted clientele, the high-net individual who possesses a boat and has the disposable income to enjoy luxurious vacations, amenities and services, but also allows us to build on relationships as well as create new partnerships,” said Mr. Batchelor. 

Resident Manager at Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, Jermaine Rahming, said that 2018 has been the best performing year for business at his establishment, since opening in 2007.    “Our 47-slips marina and hotel property has had unprecedented bookings, with many of its weekends completely sold out, we have had boaters in cues waiting to get in, and as one boater left, another was waiting to check in. Throughout this year, we were inundated with persons wanting to come into our marina, some of whom we were unable to accommodate.  This was an unfortunate, but good problem to have, but we were happy that some of those persons, who, we were unable to accommodate in 2018, we were able to confirm their 2019 booking at this year’s FLIBS.   We expect that at the very minimum, our boating business this year, has increased by at least 50% over the same period last year.  And, should trends continue as they are doing and based on our current bookings for 2019, we believe that 2019 will be as strong a year as 2018 or will exceed it,” he said.

Molly McIntosh, General Manager at the Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina in Green Turtle Cay Abaco, said that 2018 was a busy year for her 40-slip marina also. “We saw business level increase by at least 20% for the period October 2017 to October 2018,” she said.

“The Incredibly great weather conditions in The Bahamas, coupled with a strong and vibrant US economy have definitely attributed to the business success we have received this year.  Additionally, we have seen a heavy return of past customers, some of whom were absent for almost 15 years,” she said. 

“Attending FLIBS is critical to our success.  If we could only attend one promotion each year, it would be this show, because of the consistent business it provides us throughout the year.  In addition to the numerous bookings we received from this show last year, we were also able to book a wedding group, which generated $40,000 to us alone, that does not include monies that would have been spent on food and beverage, golf cart and jeep rentals, tours, etc.,” she said. 

“If bookings continue as they are doing, we are certain that we will far exceed the 2018 numbers in 2019,” she said.

Media Contact:D. Earnestine Moxyz | Bahamas Tourist Office | 954-236-9292 | emoxyz@bahamas.com

Photo Captions:

1.Pictured assembled at the new Bahamas Pavilion are some of The Bahamas marina operators at the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.

2. Representatives from Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina reported that boating business this past year is at its highest since opening.  Pictured from left to right are: Jermaine Rahming, Resident Dock Manager, Cape Eleuthera Resort; Illianna Spychalla, Director of Sales at Valentine’s Residences & Marina; Carla Stuart, Senior Director, Cruise, BMOTA; Ecarsha Smith, Assistant Manager, BMOTA; and Neil Thompson, Facilities Manager, Cape Eleuthera Resort.

3. Active Captain has voted Palm Cay Marina as the number one marina in The Bahamas for the past four consecutive years. Palm Cay executives announced plans to further expand its facilities due to heighten business interest and strong bookings.  Pictured left to right are:  Jack Cummins, Sales Director, Palm Cay; Janice Jolly, Office Manager, Palm Cay; Richard Treco, Senior Manager, Boating, BMOTA; Rob Batchelor, CEO, Palm Cay; and Earl Miller, General Manager, Boating, BMOTA.

4. Pictured is the new state of the art Bahamas Pavilion, which was unveiled at the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. The 800 Square feet pavilion features video walls and virtual reality authentic experiences in Abaco, Nassau, Freeport and the Exumas and geo target boaters, marinas and high-end vacationers.