France just got a little closer to The Islands Of The Bahamas, thanks to an interline agreement signed between Bahamasair and Air Caraïbes.
The agreement was signed after painstaking negotiations, according to Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Area Manager for France, Karin Mallet Gautier, who recently brought nine tour operators on a familiarization trip to The Bahamas.
“Air Caraïbes took over the route from Paris to San Salvador that Club Med was operating as a charter. In November 2016, Air Caraïbes began servicing the Paris- San Salvador route with regularly scheduled flights, and since that time we have been encouraging Air Caraïbes to operate a direct flight to Nassau,” she said.
“So we met with Air Caraïbes and Bahamasair and now French passengers can book on Air Caraïbes for Paris to San Salvador but also it will allow Bahamians to travel to Paris.”
The flights will be offered every Thursday. Once passengers arrive in San Salvador they are able to travel to Nassau via Bahamasair and to any other islands of The Bahamas.
Paris – San Salvador round trip flights start at $850, which is lower than the general market, according to officials.
Ms. Gautier says the response has been tremendous.
“The French market is increasing year after year. We are expanding with our digital campaign. France is the first market in continental Europe after the UK and we are growing month after month, so we are now in need of more direct options to reach the Islands Of The Bahamas because we were only using British Airways, which we will continue to use. The need for a Paris to Nassau option was very strong,” she said.
Air Director of Commercial Flights of the Caribbean Francois Bonnet said the demand for the Islands of The Bahamas is high.
Since its initial agreement, Air Caraïbes has brought over 15,000 French passengers to The Islands Of The Bahamas.
“We now have demand from the French tour operators and the European tour operators. We are now waiting for more passengers. The hotel industry here is good and the hotels’ standards are very high quality. The quality of service is high. The French really enjoy The Bahamas for diving and parasailing and that’s why we are expecting more and more passengers on our planes,” he said.
Bahamasair Managing Director Tracey Cooper said the nation’s flag carrier is excited for the partnership.
“Where Air Caraïbes is able to sell all of The Bahamas, we at Bahamasair are able to offer Paris to Bahamians at a reasonable rate. Anything to enhance the tourism product and offer Paris to The Bahamas at a reasonable airfare is great for Bahamasair,” he said.
The tour operators said they were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of The Islands Of The Bahamas.
Since arriving, they have visited San Salvador, Nassau, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera.
Florence Cusett from Marco Vasco and Taylor Made Vacations said she loves the versatility of The Islands Of The Bahamas.
“What I love about The Bahamas is that there are many islands and each one is different so you can satisfy each client and they can come back a few times and they are always satisfied,” she said.
Sandra Bellot of Island Consulting says she feels that a lot of groups are looking to come to the destination.
“I’m sure that The Bahamas would be a very nice destination for pleasure groups and The Bahamas has a lot of great products for groups like all inclusive hotels and also the small structures,” she said.
“What I really like about The Bahamas is the Bahamians. They are just so nice and it’s truly a pleasure to be here.”
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Writer Credit: Kendea Smith
Photo Credit Kemuel Stubbs
Caption Air Caraibes 2: Bahamasair, Air Caraibes and Ministry of Tourism and Aviation officials pose at a Cocktail party in honour of the Interline agreement between Bahamasair and Air Caraibes.
Air Caraibes 4: Tour operators experienced Junkanoo during a cocktail party in their honour.