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LPIA Arrivals Spike, NAD Reports Best December, January in Company’s 11-Year History, Exceed Pre-recession Numbers

Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), the management company responsible for The Bahamas’ busiest airport, reported today that air arrivals at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport during December 2017 and January 2018 were the highest in the company’s 11-year history and for the first time in a decade exceeded pre-recession travel levels.

Some 151,454 passengers landed at LPIA in December, 140,314 in January, the largest numbers since the pre-recession holidays of 2007/2008. December’s increase was the highest in a single month, up nearly 15,000 over the second-best year a decade earlier. Preliminary results for March are even more impressive – up by 24% over 2017 arrivals.

“The strong increase in air travel to LPIA is excellent news,” said NAD CEO Vernice Walkine. “While we are handling more passengers than ever before, we are also pleased that enhanced systems including pre-clearance check-in kiosks have made the LPIA experience smooth, efficient and enjoyable for passengers from around the world.”

The uptick in arrivals is being driven by several factors, according to airport officials. Among them, an increase in airlift, the return of Sunwing Airlines, strengthening of the Canadian dollar and a brutally cold winter in the U.S. northeast and Canada. They also credit a marketing and promotional ramp-up by Ministry of Tourism and destination partners, especially in Canada and specific markets in the U.S. and U.K. “Canada is driving growth in international arrivals all on its own,” said Jan Knowles, Vice President, Marketing and Commercial Development.

Canada has led the impact on the higher numbers with both West Jet and Air Canada seeing significant growth in their passenger numbers this season and capacity on flights averaging 89%.  The bitter cold and a change in flight times help account for the Canadian boost. British Airways also enjoyed about a 10% increase in air arrivals. According to another NAD official, a Baltimore to Nassau route operated by Southwest Airlines showed a strong increase over last year’s performance.

The Baha Mar factor is yet to be quantified but officials report that nearly every U.S. airline has added seats in anticipation of increased demand driven by marketing of the new luxury resort and casino. Various promotion boards’ marketing efforts are also credited with the image of Exuma’s famed swimming pigs driving traffic from far-off places to the islands of The Bahamas.

Overall, a 15% increase is projected in non-U.S. international seat capacity through June 2018.

According to Walkine, the company which has employed Bahamahost training for front-line staff across LPIA has focused on excellence in service delivery. That focus has paid off. Earlier this month LPIA walked away with third place honours when the Airports Council International announced its Best Airports in the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  More than 600,000 passengers throughout the region participated in the ranking process.

More than 3.3 million passengers pass through LPIA every year with the airport serving 55 destinations via 24 airlines.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Health Officials Determine the Islands of the Bahamas are Zika Free

March 1, 2018 – Two of the world’s leading health organizations have recently declared that The Islands Of The Bahamas do not pose a known risk to travelers of contracting the Zika virus.  No new cases of Zika have been identified in the country within the past 12 months.

On February 2, 2018 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed The Bahamas from its list of “Areas with Risk of Zika,” which, according to their website, identifies places where pregnant women should avoid travel, and where travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission during and after the trip.

The CDC now includes The Bahamas under “Areas with Interrupted Transmission,” meaning Zika was previously found in the locations on this list but scientists have determined the virus is no longer present. The CDC states that travelers, including pregnant women, can visit these destinations with no known risk of getting Zika from mosquitoes.

Also on February 2, the World Health Organization (WHO) downgraded The Bahamas from a Category 2 to a Category 3 on its Zika Virus (ZIKV) Classification Table, signifying that there have been no new cases of Zika identified in the area or from travelers in the past 12 months.  This classification table evaluates the geographical distribution of Zika virus across four categories, Category 1 being the most threatening and Category 4 representing areas with no documented past or current transmissions. 


The Bahamas Ministry of Health confirmed that the last reported cases of Zika were in November, 2016. At that time, all cases sought medical attention after having symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection. All clients were treated for associated symptoms and did well. Based on the histories received from the cases, it was determined that there was a mix of travel-associated and local transmission.

Various government sectors in The Bahamas – the Ministry of Health, Department of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health – continue to work in partnership to operate an active surveillance program and intense vector control and mosquito management to prevent the threat of Zika transmission.


Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito and by sexual transmission of an infected person. For tips on how to protect against Zika, visit the CDC’s Zika Guide for Travelers. Also visit the CDC’s Zika travel map and refer to the WHO’s ZIKA Classification Table for the most up-to-date information on Zika around the world.

For further information about Zika and The Bahamas, contact the National Disease Surveillance Unit at 242-502-4776, 242-502-4790, 242-376-3809 or 242-376-4705.


The Islands Of The Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles with some of the world’s best scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and provides convenience for travelers with preclearance through U.S. customs and immigration, and the Bahamian dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas. For more information call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com. Look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

Anita Johnson-Patty
General Manager, Global Communications
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation
[email protected]

Weber Shandwick
Public Relations
[email protected]


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Build Back Better St. Maarten Week of Activities March 16-20, 2018

The Build Back Better SXM week of activities will be held from March 16-20, 2018 and aims to boost knowledge (collecting expertise and connecting experts) around key topics for recovery and reconstruction through knowledge exchanges. The basis for this initiative is St. Maarten’s National Recovery Plan, but the intent is for it to be relevant to other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the path towards sustainable development and climate resiliency.

The focus areas are:

  1. Sustainable Tourism
  2. Renewable Energy
  3. Entrepreneurship & Relearning

The event will include various expert sessions, opportunities for networking and youth engagement, and will include the following:

  • Fri 16th – Welcome reception and launch event
  • Sat 17th and Sun 18th – 2 day Do-Tank (Action oriented think-tank) to identify actionable ideas, strategies and solutions
  • Mon 19thDo-Trade (Trade show) and business networking events with visiting trade missions
  • Tues 20th – Site visits around ST. Maarten

For information and Registration:


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Tourism Congress to address theme of Building Resilience in the Tourism sector

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (March 12, 2018) – When the XXIV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism opens on Wednesday, March 21 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, one of the key areas for presentations and discussions will be the matter of building resilience in the Tourism sector in the Americas. In the latter months of 2017 the hemisphere of the Americas received a painful reminder of the relevance and significance of this theme after several countries felt the devastating impacts of hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes. In fact 2017 is regarded as a record-setting year for natural disasters in terms of the number, severity and financial costs of the disasters that occurred.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria that lashed the region last year prompted both emergency and strategic responses as property was destroyed almost overnight and economic livelihoods compromised. While in no way minimising the need for resilience due to storms and natural disasters, the Congress is taking a wider view of the concept of resilience, preferring to see it as a concept that embraces a more comprehensive range of strategies and measures that governments need to adopt in order to ensure the survivability of the sector come what may.      

A number of Tourism heavyweights from the Americas will be addressing this theme at the Congress. Secretary General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Mr. Hugh Riley will be giving a CTO perspective on the theme, while Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, Hon. Edmund Bartlett will look at global efforts to promote resilience. Those addresses will be followed by a Presentation by Ms. Kim Osborne, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the Organisation of American States (OAS). Finally the Vice-Minister of Tourism of Colombia, Ms. Sandra Howard will discuss Tourism resilience by looking at the impact of the peace process on tourism in Colombia. Those presentations will then be followed by a Ministerial Dialogue.

About the Conference:

The XXIVth Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism under the theme “Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism” will be held on March 21-22, 2018 in Georgetown, Guyana. The Congress is jointly coordinated by the Organization of American States and the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Business.



Donald Sinclair

National Coordinator of XXIV Congress

Director General of Tourism, Department of Tourism

Ministry of Business

229 South Road, Lacytown

Georgetown, Guyana

T: (+592) 225 4237

E: [email protected]


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Fort-de-France, Martinique | March 8, 2018 – Rhum Clément  will receive the world’s best bartenders at Habitation Clément in Martinique for the Grand Finale of its global cocktail competition, the Ti’Punch Cup. For this second edition, the brand pushed across borders and will welcome participants from 14 countries as far as Spain, Germany and China. Rhum Clément has always been eager to promote the richness of Martinique discovered through rhum agricole. The goal of the Ti’Punch Cup is no exception, focusing this time on the classic cocktail of the island, the Ti’Punch.

The national finals held in 2017 in each participating country starting in New Orleans in July, and moving around the world concluding in Vietnam in December 2017, bartenders from all over the world have shown great creativity in bringing their personal “twist” to the traditional Ti’ Punch recipe. Inspired by the Martinican culture, bringing an artist’s look to an iconic classic and breaking the rules of recipes are some of the attributes that allowed 15 bartenders to win their tickets to the world finals.

“It has been simply amazing to see talented bartenders around the world be inspired by Rhum Clément for their cocktails and to watch them dance with our Martinican spirit and create their contemporary version of a Ti’ Punch cocktail” remarks Audrey Bruisson, marketing director for Rhum Clément. “Once you have advanced to the global final, all the bartenders are winners! We have a fun competition planned that will be challenging and entertaining for everyone there.”

The Clément Ti’ Punch Cup will kick off again in Martinique from March 12 to 16, 2018 for a journey to discover the universe of Rhum Clément in its native island, Martinique. The Grand Finale is scheduled for March 14 with three rounds of competitions to  determine which of the world’s top bartenders  will take home the 2018 Ti’ Punch Cup trophy.

The world finals will be held on March 14th, 2018 at Habitation Clément in front of an international jury from the world of fine spirits and cocktails. The candidates will be challenged on three successive rounds with two secretive elements to challenge the bartenders. They will be judged for their signature cocktail based around the Ti’ Punch, their knowledge of rhum agricole, and how well they have incorporated the wealth of Martinique and the world of Rhum Clément in their presentation.

The grand winner of the 2018 Ti’Punch Cup will become a new ambassador of the Ti’ Punch and will hold the Ti’ Punch Cup trophy in their bar,  made by one of GAAM’s artists (Group of Artisans Martinique Art) following a local competition launched by the brand. Germany, England, Belgium, China, Denmark, United States, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Martinique, Netherlands, Switzerland, Vietnam … who will win the second edition of the Clement Ti’Punch Cup? See you at Habitation Clément on March 14th!


  • Atelier Classic Bar | Ivan Urech | Thoune, Switzerland
  • Bar de Vlieg | Vincent Nouws | Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Birds & Bees | Bethany Ham | Los Angeles, California
  • Black Smoke | Donald Simons | Anvers, Belgium
  • Clover Club | Leanne Fevre | New York, New York
  • Dr. Stravinsky | Yeray Monforte | Barcelona, Spain
  • Le Cloud | Yannick Brunot | Fort-de-France, Martinique
  • Le Monfort | Francois Badel | Rennes, France
  • Lighthouse | Nguyen Nguyen Canh | Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
  • MASH | Rasmus Greve Christiansen | Odense, Denmark
  • My Lounge | Michele Picone | Cesana Brianza, Italy
  • Spitaki Cocktail Bar | Konstantinos Ristanis | Ioannina, Greece
  • The Beachcomber | Ashera Goonewardene | London, United Kingdom
  • The Haploid | Dave (Ching Yin) Lam | Shenzen, China
  • Tumbar | Florian Springer | Hamburg, Germany


  • Catherine GOMBART – Martinique – regional delegate Antilles of UMIH Formation, specialized organization on the Café Hotel Restaurant Tourism sector
  • Dimitri MALOUTA – Martinique – commercial director of RHUM CLEMENT Martinique
  • Dirk HANY – Switzerland – 2016 TI’PUNCH CUP World Winner
  • Jonathan POGASH – USA – founder: The Cocktail Guru website www.thecocktailguru.com
  • Simon DIFFORD – England – creator of the cocktail guide DIFFORD’S GUIDE
  • Sullivan DOH – France – co-founder of the cocktail bars LE SYNDICAT (34th best bar of the world in the ranking World’s 50 best bar 2017) and LA COMMUNE in Paris and the event agency Syndicat Agency
  • Thanos PRUNARUS – Greece – owner of the BABA AU RUM cocktail bar in Athens (30th best bar of the world in the World’s 50 best bar ranking 2017)


  • Monday, March 12 – Arrival of candidates
  • Tuesday, March 13 – Discovery of the Habitation Clément and workshops with local producers
  • Wednesday, March 14 – 2018 Ti’Punch Cup World Finals at 18th century Habitation Clément
  • Thursday, March 15 – Tour of the North Atlantic
  • Friday, March 16th – Discovery of the south of the island and departure

For more information about Ti Punch Cup tipunchcup.com/

For more information about Martinique us.martinique.org/

ABOUT MARTINIQUE (us.martinique.orgmartiniquepresskit.com)

The French Caribbean Island of Martinique is also known as the Isle of Flowers, The Rum Capital of the World, the Birthplace of coffee in the New World, The Isle of the Famed Poet (Aimé Césaire) – Martinique ranks among the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world. As an overseas region of France, Martinique boasts modern and reliable infrastructure – roads, water and power utilities, hospitals, and telecommunications, services all on par with any other part of the European Union. At the same time, Martinique’s beautifully unspoiled beaches, volcanic peaks, rainforests, 80+ miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, streams, and other natural wonders are unparalleled in the Caribbean, so visitors here truly get the best of both worlds. The currency is the Euro, the flag and the official language are French, but Martinique’s character, cuisine, musical heritage, art, culture, common language, and identity are of a distinctly Afro-Caribbean inclination known as Creole. It is this special combination of modern world conveniences, pristine nature, and rich heritage that has earned for Martinique several notable distinctions in recent years. In 2018, Martinique is highlighted in the Caribbean segment of the New York Time’s “52 Places to go in 2018.” and prominently featured in a January 2018 article in Travel + Leisure. In a 2017 review of noteworthy French Islands throughout the world ThePointsGuy.com selected Martinique as number one. Other distinctions include being named as a “Must-Visit” destination by Caribbean Journal, “Best Caribbean Destination” by About.com, and “Top Caribbean Island for Delectable Dining” by Caribbean Travel + Life.


Géraldine Rome                                                                   

Martinique Promotion Bureau

T: 212-838-6887
E: [email protected]

Géraldine Rome | Communications Coordinator | Martinique Promotion Bureau- CMT USA|           

825 Third Avenue, 29th Floor New York, NY 10022 |T: 212 838 68 87 | DL: 212 745 0941 [email protected]  www.us.martinique.org

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Barbados #1 in the World for Visitor Satisfaction

Berlin, GERMANY – Barbados tourism is once again in winner’s row, this time beating out destinations such as second-place Seychelles and third-place Bermuda, to land the number one spot on the 2017 Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI).

Throughout the year, over 70,000 travellers were interviewed around the world, giving their feedback on 20 categories including Beaches, Accommodation, Cuisine and Shopping. In the end, Barbados had the highest overall World score, 8.8/10, of the 144 countries included. The destination also ranked highest in the Accommodation category, and highest in the Americas region ahead of Bermuda and the Bahamas.

The awards were presented to the Barbados delegation, led by Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, during a ceremony at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show held in Germany’s capital city.

When asked what the award means for Barbados, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), shared plans to leverage the accolade in the destination’s marketing communications over the next year. “For us it’s going to be very advantageous because with our marketing and our public relations, we’re going to be saying we’re best in the world, at least for the next 12 months. And I think it helps us in our quest to move forward in terms of pressing for success for Barbados tourism.”

L-R: Dennis Pyka, Managing Director of dp2research; Alvin Jemmott, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport; William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI; and Marc Leimann, Managing Director of Norstat Germany

Travellers most satisfied with Barbados

The DSI, developed and executed by two European research companies – Norstat and dp2research, is a metric that measures the overall valuation of a holiday destination based on the factors travellers find most attractive. The online survey was administered in 24 source markets, and the 70,000 interviews resulted in 1.4 million responses direct from travellers which informed the scores in each category.

Marc Leimann, Managing Director of Norstat Germany, said he is excited about how the study went. “The feedback was that people, especially when it comes to Barbados, were extremely happy with the trip provided. Barbados basically really challenged and won against the world in total.”

Stressing the value of visitor feedback, Griffith added that “the important thing is that… it was the customer’s opinion and that’s really what drives the energy in terms of what we do, and that’s why we think it’s such a validation and an endorsement of what we’re trying to achieve.”

Best accommodations in the world

Apart from the overall World award, Barbados also topped the Accommodation category, scoring 8.8/10 ahead of Bermuda which placed second, and the Maldives which placed third.

Cadogan lauded the sector’s international acclaim and spoke on the strategic steps which resulted in Barbados’ recognition. “Over the last year, 2017, we would have had about 43 different establishments which refurbished, therefore our product is being refreshed. We are making a concerted effort and working on our accommodation and it is bearing results as you have seen from the Accommodation award that we have received here today.”

Some of the hotels that underwent extensive renovations and refurbishments included Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Sea Breeze Beach Hotel and Elegant Hotels’ Treasure Beach and The House. New properties like Sandals Royal also opened their doors, and the international chain has already announced plans for a third property on the island, its famous Beaches, with construction beginning September 2018.

Griffith also congratulated the accommodation sector and commended their contribution to the destination’s high overall score. He added that the DSI Accommodation award further supports Barbados’ outstanding performance in the highly-recognized TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. “We recently captured 13 Travelers’ Choice Awards for the Caribbean region. We placed across a diverse range of categories – Luxury, All-Inclusive, Best Service, Bargain and Romance. And what we’re really seeing here are different travellers from different countries all over the world giving their feedback on different platforms, and they’re all saying the same thing – that accommodations in Barbados are among the best in the world. That’s the main message here, that’s the main takeaway.”

Photo caption below:

L-R: Dennis Pyka, Managing Director of dp2research; Alvin Jemmott, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport; William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI; and Marc Leimann, Managing Director of Norstat Germany.

About Barbados

The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes.  Rated as one of the world’s sexiest beaches in 2008 by Concierge.com; Barbados’ Crane Beach in St. Philip stands as a premier destination for travelers.  Barbados is also the first Zagat-rated Caribbean island and is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Barbados has hosted several world class events including: The annual Barbados Food & Rum Festival; the 2006 PGA World Golf Championships-Barbados World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup Finals in 2007, the Sentebale Charity Polo match with Prince Harry of Wales in 2010, and the ICC Twenty20 Cricket Finals for 2010, and the Rihanna LOUD concert in 2011. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas, to quaint bed and breakfasts and award-winning, five-star resorts. Grantley Adams International Airport offers even more non-stop and direct service from a growing number of U.S. cities, making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.  Barbados was voted eighth in the World by Trip Advisor’s “2008 Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards” in its Top 100 Destinations category. For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org, follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VisitBarbados, via Twitter @Barbados.



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