Author: Jeannie Gibson - Bahamas Ministry of Tourism | Date: 03 June 2019
Guests were not dressed in formal wear or tuxes, but the evening was a grand, gala-style event aboard a Super Yacht in Miami, Florida for the launch of ‘Summertime in Freeport,’ a presentation of Bahamas Tourist Office, Florida.
The event, which promised a sneak preview of summertime fun and excitement in Freeport, Grand Bahama, drew travel agents, local South Florida influencers and media. It featured a red-carpet entry boarding of the mega yacht, Seafair berthed at a port in downtown Miami, and a sail-away from the port for the evening’s affair.
The festivities aboard the yacht included a business-to-business (B2B) networking reception with Freeport destination vendors followed by a talk show format presentation, ‘Summertime in Freeport;’ an elegant dinner and dance, and culminating with the unique rhythmic sounds of Bahamian Junkanoo as the boat returned to its port.
The night was all about Freeport, the second major city of The Islands Of The Bahamas, and the promotional color of the Island, a bright orange, was the decorative theme. Splashes of orange dominated the luxurious venue, but what said Freeport more than anything during the night was the 13-piece Royal Bahamas Police Pop Band (Grand Bahama division) that provided crowd pleasing entertainment at dining.
Described as highly successful, the event was organized by the marketing team of the Bahamas Tourist Office, Florida, under the leadership of their Director of Sales, Mrs. Betty Bethel Moss. Bethel-Moss, a veteran in the Tourism Industry, is also a former director for the Ministry of Tourism, Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The Talk show styled presentation, ‘Summertime in Freeport,’ featured an appearance by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation’s Deputy Director General (DDG), Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson. The DDG spoke about the Ministry of Tourism’s goals and marketing strategy for the Freeport tourism product. He also took time, however, to briefly mention his ministry’s current Brand Campaign that features world class musical artist, Lenny Kravitz, who is also of Bahamian descent and a resident of The Bahamas.
Sanique Culmer of the Freeport (Grand Bahama) Tourist Office shared with those in attendance about all of the exciting ‘Summertime in Freeport’ cultural events and activities that will be taking place, during the months of July and August. She spoke about the Goombay Summer Festival and the Junkanoo Summer Festival that will feature local cuisine, artisans, and entertainers, and in the case of the Junkanoo Summer Festival, six local groups providing competitive music and choreographed dancers.
Culmer also spoke about one of The Bahamas’ signature programs, “People to People,” which pairs visitors with local Bahamians who share a common interest or background, to allow the visitor to be a Bahamian for a day.
Also sharing on the ‘Summertime in Freeport’ fun, was Carmel Churchill of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB). Churchill told guests about the some 40 fun activities that one can participate in while visiting Freeport. Among those listed by Churchill: kayaking, horseback riding, dolphin experience, snorkeling, diving, fishing, eco adventures, or simply enjoying one of the many beaches on the Island.
Other Freeport vendors taking part in the talk show were Anthanea Russell, representing Forbes Charter, ground transportation; Woodrow Wilson, Bahamasair; Katie Loughlin, Silver Airways; Catherine Cruz, Balearia Caribbean and Julian Guzman, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.
During a B2B networking session, guests took advantage of the opportunity to speak with all of the vendors, who, in addition to those taking part in the Talk Show, included Juan Romero, Grand Lucayan Resort; Donna Mackey, Viva Fortuna All Inclusive Resort; Anna Lockhart-Tannenbaum, Taino Beach; Magnus Alnebeck, Pelican Bay Resort and Shylocke and Duyla Edwards, S and D Coach Tours.
The Freeport vendors at the event and many not in attendance were generous in providing gifts that were donated throughout the evening. Prizes provided included from swag bags with everything needed for a day at the beach to trips and grand prizes that included transportation to the island, accommodations, ground transfers and activities.
A notable part of the presentation included members of the sales team providing information on Travel Agent incentive programs, industry partners special offers, familiarization trips and resources for agents including webinars, a monthly travel agent newsletter and special pages on the Bahamas tourism website, bahamas.com. The team also took time to acknowledge graduates, and enrollees of the Bahamas Specialist Program.
The evening was summed up by the GBITB representative, Mrs. Churchill, who said that “The event represented the grandeur of Freeport and all that it has to offer.” She said that all of the various elements presented, contributed to the splendor... from the red-carpet entrance boarding the mega yacht, to the venue with all of the right touches of Freeport, including the straw work decor.”
“Guests in attendance got a good taste of what the destination has to offer and we certainly gave them something to look forward to or to share with others to encourage them to visit our destination. The Royal Bahamas Police Pop Band, Grand Bahama district did an outstanding job with bringing the sounds of our Island and the menu, which included blackened grouper, depicted the flavors of Grand Bahama.”
A native of Freeport, Churchill joked that “For a minute, being a Grand Bahamian, I thought I was home; particularly with Sands beer being on the menu of beverages that was available.”
Churchill lauded The Bahamas Tourist Office marketing team, for having put on a great event, “It was done tastefully, at a high-end venue, and every detail was at a high-quality level,” she said.
“Thanks to this event, we in Freeport will be looking forward to welcoming travel professionals and their clients, bloggers, influencers and the like, to our destination very soon so that they will really see, touch, taste and feel all of what they got a peek of, but so much more,” Churchill said.
The marketing team of The Bahamas Tourist Office, Florida includes its Director, Mrs. Bethel Moss; District Manager, Tina Lee; Sr. Marketing Representatives, Adrian Kemp and Phylia Shivers and Inside Sales Coordinator, Elke Pettiford.
The team’s efforts in promoting Freeport, Grand Bahama also included a Summertime in Freeport event at the premier Boca Raton venue, the Addison. The team will take the show on the road to Orlando, Florida next, to host the final in their series of ‘Summertime in Freeport.’
To contact a member of the Florida marketing team, call 954-236-9292 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on The Bahamas, visit www.bahamas.com