Grand Bahama hotels have seen a 37 per cent room revenue increase year-to-date as a result of the extra airlift associated with the Memories resort’s opening.
The airlift is being facilitated by a partnership between Vacation Express, the Grand Bahama Promotion Board and Bahamasair.
The partnership, which began on May 1 and will last until October 31, 2014, is expected to bring thousands of tourists from Birmingham, Alabama; Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; and Cincinnati, Ohio, while increasing the average night stay in Freeport. The inclusive air package includes a stay at Memories Grand Bahama Beach resort.
Carmel Churchill, of the Grand Bahama Promotion Board, said the island was already seeing a huge economic difference.
“Since the introduction of the new flights into the destination, Grand Bahama is receiving an additional 4,650 new air seats monthly. What it means is that we now have increased hotel room occupancy, more use of our ancillary services and an overall increased interest for the destination in these gateways,” she said.
Ms Churchill said occupancy has increased by 7 per cent year-to-date to May 31, compared to the same period last year. Room revenue also increased by $3.2 million or 37 per cent, of which Memories accounts for $1.7 million or 54 per cent.
Ms Churchill said the Grand Bahama Promotion Board was also looking to try other strategies to get heads in beds.
“The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board has engaged an international marketing agency that will be focused on developing and managing it’s digital marketing platforms, I.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube and Google,” she said.
“This initiative will allow us to reach our target market in a timely manner, being able to communicate in meaningful ways while delivering to them valid content that is specific to their interest. With the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s focus on re-engaging the travel agent industry, we are there with them each step of the way, ensuring that the Grand Bahama brand is visible and able to take advantage of emerging opportunities.”
Betty Bethel, of the Ministry of Tourism’s Grand Bahama office, added: “I feel that the following reasons make the partnership beneficial: Ownership of the air (Sunwing) and hotel (Memories Blue Diamond Resort) components, being one in the same, makes for the perfect recipe for success for Grand Bahama.
“Additionally, Sunwing has a reach in Europe through its parent company, Tui, which is the largest tour operation in Europe, combined with its US-based company, Vacation Express, broadens our base of potential guests from the US, Canada and Europe.”
Vacation Express is part of the family-owned and operated Toronto-based Sunwing Travel Group.