More than 700 islands make up The Bahamas, and only a few—namely Grand Bahama and The Abacos—were affected by Hurricane Dorian. The remainder of the destination is open for business. It’s the message that those in the destination have been saying since the storm and it’s still the message that was reiterated to Travel Agent by Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board SVP, marketing Douglas Trueblood when he visited our office this week.
“When people ask me, ‘What can I do?’ I just tell them to go on vacation in The Bahamas. That will help us,” Trueblood says. It’s important to keep people visiting the destination, especially islands like Nassau and Paradise, since they account for 80 percent of the tourism economy—and, as a whole, tourism makes up more than half of The Bahamas GDP.
In addition to positively affecting the country’s GDP, by staying at hotels like Baha Mar, Atlantis Paradise Island and others, travelers will have the chance to donate to relief efforts and even bring down supplies (with waived baggage weight restrictions from airlines).
As for what’s new in Nassau and Paradise Island? A $250 million Margaritaville will be opening as part of The Pointe, a mixed-use development that will also include a shopping concourse, movie theater, bowling alley and events stage. The resort will have a water park, entertainment center, a spa and more. This is expected to open in summer 2020. Additionally, Meliá Nassau Beach will open in late 2020 as part of Baha Mar, becoming the first all-inclusive brand to be part of the resort.
On the cruise side, Nassau will see a $250 million investment in its port that would allow it to hold up to 10 cruises at a time. An expansive pavilion and boardwalk would take guests from the port directly into the downtown area, which Trueblood says is going through a “renaissance.” In other cruise news, The Bahamas signed two agreements with Carnival Corporation for a $100 million cruise port development in Freeport and an $80 million expansion of Half Moon Cay.
Regarding air travel to The Bahamas, Air Canada is increasing its airlift from Montreal to Nassau beginning December 20, 2019; the nonstop service will increase operations from twice a week to four times a week. Starting December 21, 2019, new daily nonstop Delta flights will operate from Boston’s Logan Airport to Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport; flights will run through April 30, 2020.