NEW YORK CITY – Travel Agent sat down with Vernice Walkine, director general of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Wednesday and learned that the destination will be cutting taxes on airline tickets.
Beginning in July, one-way tickets to Grand Bahama Island from New York will cost $99 and roundtrip tickets from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will cost $99. To put that in perspective, the taxes alone for a flight from New York to The Bahamas currently come out to $142, Walkine says. “With the economy being the focus of the industry now, we had to come up with a way for people to fly for less,” Walkine told us. “We knew if we can do that, if we could reduce airfare costs, then we will be the number one off-shore destination for American travelers.”
Obviously, The Bahamas cannot waive the taxes implemented by New York. But the Bahamas waived its own taxes after tourism officials convinced the government that it would make the destination more money in the long run. “If more people are flying here, then more people are staying at the hotels, shopping at the markets, eating at the restaurants,” Walkine says.
Walkine says the July flights to Grand Bahama Island will be a trial run and, if all goes well, they will begin cutting the taxes on flights to other regions of The Bahamas. And if that goes well? “If this is a success,” Walkine says, “this will be permanent.”