Grand Bahama Welcomes Return of Sunwing
Freeport, Grand Bahama, December 16, 2019 — Sunwing Airlines has returned to Grand Bahama Island offering two nonstop routes between Canada and Freeport. The Canada-based airline relaunched the seasonal service on Saturday, December 14 with the arrival of a capacity flight to the Fixed Based Operator (FBO) at the Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA). The Boeing-737 jet, which, for this inaugural journey of the 2019 winter season, combined the offered Toronto and Montreal routes, carried 189 passengers onboard.
Moving forward, Sunwing will operate the direct flights once weekly on Saturdays from Toronto Pearson Airport and Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Sunwing will offer the service until April. Each flight will bring in stopover visitors who will get the opportunity to enjoy the island for at least one week.
Government officials and key Grand Bahama stakeholders assembled at FBO Saturday afternoon to give the visitors an authentically Bahamian welcome. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) K. Peter Turnquest, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard, Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Vice Chairman Sarah St. George, GBPA President Ian Rolle, and General Manager for Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation on Grand Bahama, Steven Johnson.
As part of the reception, each guest was presented with a Bahamas Goombay Punch soda and treated to a lively Junkanoo performance before boarding charter buses that transported them to their respective hotels. Several properties are expected to see a revenue boost over the next few days as visitors will stay at Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach, Grand Lucayan Hotel, Pelican Bay Hotel, Island Seas Resort as well as local timeshares.
Johnson mentioned that several of the vacationers will spend up to two weeks on the island.
“We’re hoping these visitors will go around Grand Bahama and experience the island,” Johnson said. “There’s shopping, the fish fry, beaches. You can swim with the dolphins. We even have swimming with the pigs here. We want them to get out there and explore, to enjoy the conch salad and gully wash and really see all we have to offer.”
DPM Turnquest noted that the desire to travel to Grand Bahama is still very high for travellers around the world, but the devastation of GBIA has made it difficult for those individuals to come to the island. The return of Sunwing is a partial, but much-welcomed, solution to this problem, Turnquest said.
“This is an exciting development and hopefully will herald the return of our tourism sector,” Turnquest said. “It’s been a challenge, since the storm, getting available seats into the island. This is a significant boost for us. Hopefully, it will be the start of a successful summer promotional period and encourage the rebirth of investment in the tourism sector and the restarting of the tourism economy in all of these various properties.”
Senator Thompson expressed similar sentiments, claiming Saturday was a great day for Grand Bahama. He noted that Sunwing was another major step in the recovery phase and looks forward to the return of U.S.-based airlines.
“Bringing back international flights is vital for Grand Bahama to recover,” Thompson said. “We have now seen that international flights are back, international flights will continue to move. So we are anticipating very shortly for American Airlines and some of the other airlines to also be coming back.”
Thompson said he is happy that Bahamasair will resume international flights to Grand Bahama as well starting this week. The national flag carrier recently announced it would relaunch regular scheduled flights connecting Freeport and Fort Lauderdale starting December 19. Bahamasair will operate the flights daily with the exception of Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism