Bahamas Working to increase African-American Visitors

WASHINGTON, DC --- The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) has locked in two major events that are expected to attract thousands of African-American visitors to The Bahamas in 2015.

According to BMOT’s Director of the African-American market Linville Johnson, plans are underway for a black women’s empowerment conference at Baha Mar, which is expected to bring 5,000 to 8,000 visitors to New Providence next year.

A music festival for Grand Bahama is also in the making, and the proposed event is projected to attract anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 visitors to that island.

“This market is very important to our tourism industry because we have a shared affinity for heritage and culture. African-Americans primarily travel in groups for reunions, fraternal, religious, and civic events, conferences and meetings,” Johnson said.

“These meetings and groups will help make up The Bahamas hotel industry’s ideal 20-70 group to individual travel business mix.”

Research shows that this segment of the American population represents one of the fastest growing markets in the travel industry.

As part of the ministry’s efforts to increase visibility in the African-American market, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and a team from BMOT attended the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CDCF) 44th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in Washington, DC.

ALC is described as the premier gathering of African-Americans, attracting around 8,000 influential men and women throughout the United States of America each year. Johnson said the four-day conference opened many doors for The Islands of The Bahamas.

“We were able to build and maintain critical and meaningful relationships with key leaders in the African-American community, including those from the Travel & Tourism industry, Government, and religious community who attend this annual event,” he said.

While in DC, tourism officials met with principals of several travel and business news magazines including Black Enterprise, Pathfinders, and Black Meetings and Tourism to establish a formidable business relationship with them and to present The Islands Of The Bahamas as top-of-mind for their group or audience travel needs.

The event also provided an opportunity to build on the ministry’s longstanding partnership with Radio One Inc., a multi-media company that primarily targets African-American consumers.

Hundreds of guests who attended a special Radio One event following the CBCF Phoenix Awards Dinner received Islands of The Bahamas gift bags filled with promotional items and Bahamas paraphernalia.

“These projected events for next year are the result of the developed and maintained partnership with Radio and TV One in the Washington/Maryland area,” Johnson said.

The women’s empowerment conference and music festival are still in the early planning stages. Tourism officials will reveal details of each event at a later date.