Author: Jeannie Gibson (Bahamas Ministry of Tourism) | Date: 22 April 2017
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - April , 2017 - The two week-long Bahamas Product Celebrations across Florida, that began in South Beach, Miami and Fort Lauderdale mid April, and travelled to Central Florida's Tampa and Orlando, recently crescendoed with a fun-filled "Party in da Backyard," that it was said, will be the talk of the Travel Agent community in Orlando for some time to come.
The event at the Hard Rock Hotel, Universal, Orlando, FL, was one of a series of road shows hosted by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism to provide Travel agents with Resort Development updates, as well as to provide information on upcoming cultural and heritage events in The Bahamas, ways of travelling to The Islands and major, signature sporting events.
The final Product Celebration event was a no holds barred Trade Show, Presentation and then a full-blown, Bahamas styled "Party in da Backyard". The party held on the sprawling lawn behind the hotel, featured an extensive buffet and a local group costumed and performing the Bahamian Cultural Junkanoo music. Attendees also got the opportunity to dance to party music featuring the legendary Ronnie Butler, known as "The Godfather of Bahamian music," for singing about the Island's culture and all that define Bahamians as a people.
Travel agents hailed the event as "a spontaneous showcase of the country's culture that makes you want to pack your bag immediately and head for the airport." Another agent said that, "Everything about tonight spells out clearly why The Bahamas is such an easy sell. Who wouldn't want to experience all this fun"?
The Bahamas Product Celebration roadshows across Florida featured Junkanoo as a taste of The Bahamas at each of the four events in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando.
Bahamas suppliers taking part in the event included hoteliers, airline, cruise and Ferry representatives, and they too were in agreement that the Orlando event hit a high note for the entire series of road shows. The vendors also took the opportunity to express that The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's marketing team had done an awesome job in coordinating the events, that allowed for its partners to share about their destination product and network with quality travel agents in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Grand Bahama Island was a focused element of the road shows, providing a special Presentation at each, and Carmel Churchill, Marketing Director of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, said about the opportunity to promote her destination, that. "It has been well received by the agents. The response from attendees was that they had not been to Grand Bahama in a while and that they had not realized that there were so many new activities developed since their last visits; and the cultural events are an added bonus as their clients want to learn more about the culture and the Island's people"
Churchill also said that, "Florida is the closest and the largest market of travellers to Grand Bahama. With a variety of transport to the destination such as airlift via American Airlines, Bahamasair and Silver Airways combined with transport by sea - Balearia Caribbean and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. It is important that we communicate advantages of these modes of transport for Grand Bahama."
Jennifer Gardiner-Bannister, Bahamas Area Manager for the South, including all of Florida, shared that her team was humbled by the response of the agents especially as Florida is such an important market to The Bahamas, being the "sweet spot " as the lowest hanging for The Islands Of The Bahamas
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's marketing culminates Bahamas Product Celebration roadshows across Florida with Party In 'Da' Backyard, on lawn outside, Hard Rock, Universal, Orlando, FL
As regards the response from the Bahamas travel partners, Bannister-Gardiner said, "it has been about 20 years since I have seen such an overwhelming outpouring of support by our industry partners. They have expressed heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism for creating platforms like this that would bring travel professionals together in one forum for them to share their offerings, products and services." She said that the large amount of vendors "definitely speaks volume that they believe in what we are doing and sees the value for their company to commit and invest in staff to travel to Florida to participate in the Florida Product Celebrations."
In addition to Travel Agents, the Orlando event was also attended by some media who also agreed that The Bahamas had successfully met its goal for the events, which was to ensure that all in attendance was educated about the destination, but additionally given a taste of Bahamian culture. Attendees not only enjoyed the performances of the Junkanoo group but also participated in dancing with them.
For information on The Bahamas from the Florida area contacts include:
Jennifer Gardiner-Bannister, Area Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Mackey, Sr. Marketing Manager, South Florida, email@example.com
Judy Pratt-Butler, Marketing Manager, Central and Northern Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org