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The Bahamas is Enjoying Historic Visitor Numbers

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – March 20, 2019 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has heralded the highest number of international arrivals ever, resulting in record hotel occupancy levels. The Bahamas won numerous tourism industry awards and media accolades in 2018 and 2019.  The Bahamas began 2019 strong with the launch of a new, brand campaign highlighting the beauty and authenticity of its 16 islands in partnership with Lenny Kravitz, urging travelers to Fly Away to The Bahamas. The Ministry also announced exciting plans for the development of a state of the art cruise port in Nassau.

“It is my great pride and pleasure to report that The Bahamas is experiencing its strongest tourism numbers ever on record,” said Minister D’Aguilar. “We look forward to building upon the success of our progressive plans and continuing the momentum in 2019 as we forge ahead with exciting new initiatives.”

RECORD ARRIVALS

The Ministry’s data partner, ForwardKeys that tracks and reports inbound, visitor data 365 days in advance, from key designated marketing areas reported that international arrivals to The Bahamas grew by 15% in January 2019 versus January 2018.  Several key markets registered double-digit growth.  In February, international arrivals increased by 11.1% year-over-year. The forward booking situation for the next three months (March to May) is optimistic, with forward bookings running 9.0% ahead for international arrivals. April (ahead by 15.6%) shows the most favourable outlook.

Air capacity grew by 20.0% in January year-over-year, with a solid seat growth from the best-connected international markets – the U.S.A (+23.9%) and Canada (+12.7%). The USA and Canada will continue to lead the capacity growth in the next three months. The growth trend continues, as international air capacity grew by nearly 21% year-over-year in February.

CRUISE ARRIVALS

Last year was a record-breaking year for cruise ship and stopover arrivals. By the end of 2018, foreign air and sea arrivals had totaled more than 6.6 million visitors, a drastic increase from the 6.1 million recorded in 2017.  Stopover visitors alone had increased 16.7 percent in 2018, as compared to 2017, and Freeport saw a surge of sea visitors by 49 percent.

HOTEL AND AIRLIFT SALES INCREASE

The Nassau and Paradise Island hotel industry reported a spike in average daily room rates and revenue per available room in 2018 compared to 2017. The year ended with room revenues up 34 percent, gains not seen in the past ten years.

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES

Caribbean Journal Caribbean Travel Awards – The Caribbean Journal, the largest website covering Caribbean tourism, bestowed upon the destination two key awards in its Caribbean Travel Awards 2018: Best Caribbean Destination and Best Caribbean Tourism Minister.

HSMAI – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation accepted three awards for outstanding travel marketing at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition. In the Public Relations category, the Ministry was honored with a Gold Adrian Award for excellence in influencer marketing and a Bronze Adrian Award for its communications campaign. In the Advertising category, the Ministry was recognized for advertising innovation for its unique and authentic 16-island content marketing strategy.

USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for the Caribbean – The Islands Of The Bahamas was recognized with 18 awards across nine categories in this year’s USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for the Caribbean. The Bahamas claimed three number one spots for Best Caribbean Beach (Gold Rock Beach in Freeport), Best Caribbean Island for Romance (Green Turtle Cay in The Abacos) and Best Caribbean Restaurant (Graycliff in Nassau).

Media Accolades – These awards round out a growing list of media accolades and consumer travel trend reports positively positioning The Bahamas in 2019 including:

Consumer Trend Reports – The Bahamas is not just a favorite of the press, but consumers are speaking for themselves.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM WITH FLY AWAY

The Ministry also debuted a new, multi-channel creative campaign featuring Bahamian-American rock legend Lenny Kravitz which reveals the authentic spirit of The Bahamas as a destination of adventure and discovery. Set to the lyrics of Kravitz’s hit song Fly Away, the television commercial and supporting marketing campaign capture his deep personal connection to The Bahamas, as well as the pure adrenaline rush of exploring the archipelago’s 100,000 square miles by boat and plane. Behind-the-scenes video follows Kravitz around his home base of Eleuthera, where he records music and embraces island time.

Supporting digital content at www.bahamas.com/flyaway will allow The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation to raise awareness of the destination’s many islands, which include Freeport, The Abacos, The Exumas, Andros, Bimini, The Berry Islands, Cat Island, Harbour Island and Eleuthera, Long Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Acklins, Nassau-Paradise Island and Crooked Island. The new hub draws visitors into island-specific microsites delivering inspiring vertical market video content on a variety of cultural and travel topics. The campaign underscores The Bahamas’ powerful appeal as a destination and its proximity as a quick Fly Away destination.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta raises over $40,000

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten (March 21, 2019: Organizers of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta are pleased to announce that a total of $41,900 was raised during the event for local foundations.  The raffle was used to drive the event’s “Green” initiatives benefiting sustainability efforts for the island and various projects from local foundations.

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and Heineken worked in collaboration with the Rotary Club of St Maarten, Rotary St Maarten-Mid Isle, and Motorworld, by selling raffle tickets to raise funds for a Beach Cleaning vehicle, an initiative launched last year by the Rotary.

Motorworld joined as a new presenting sponsor for the 39thSt Maarten Heineken Regatta, making a fully-loaded Hyundai Creta available to be raffled. During the week of the Regatta this car, in addition to a selection of other popular brands, were on display in the Regatta Village showcasing the wide variety of cars available for sale on the island. The display was encouraging people to purchase raffle tickets and have a chance to win the new Hyundai Creta, in support of the island’s various environmental projects.

We are proud to be partners in this great joint-initiative by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, St Maarten Heineken Regatta and Heineken corporate. Working together, we have successfully organized another memorable and enjoyable St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. We congratulate The Rotary clubs and everyone for their involvement and of course the winner, Mr. Soons. With the current promotions on the New 2019 Hyundai Creta, everyone can be a winner. Visit our showroom and our dedicated Sales Team can work out a great deal for you!” mentioned Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, Motorworld Group of Companies.

“The car raffle was a tremendous addition to the Regatta and this is a wonderful prize to take home. It will be a pleasure to drive the Hyundai Creta.” says winner Mr. Soons.

Rotary Club of St. Maarten’s President John Caputo says: “The Island is now one step closer to having a proper beach cleaning machine and this car raffle fundraiser almost gets us there. The Rotary Clubs of St. Maarten are working diligently to help make St. Maarten a better place to live or visit and we certainly thank all those who purchased a ticket in support of this endeavor.  Even if you didn’t win the car, you have helped ensure that our beaches will remain pristine for decades to come,” said John Caputo, the President of the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten.”

President of the Rotary Club St. Maarten-Mid Isle, Denise Antrobus adds: “On behalf of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle, I would like to congratulate Mr. Soons on winning the car raffle. A big thank you goes to Motorworld who sponsored the Hyundai Creta for this raffle. It was wonderful to work with this partnership of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, I look forward to seeing the beach cleaner in use on St. Maarten.”

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Maroon 5 at Curaçao North Sea Jazz 2019

We are proud to announce the first names for the ninth edition of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. This year Maroon 5, Ozuna, Gladys Knight and Third World will make their appearance at the festival at the World Trade Center at Piscadera Bay. The organization is still busy with various other artists who will be announced in the course of the coming months. The festival opens on Thursday, 29 August with free concerts of Havana D’Primera and Aymee Nuviola.

American band Maroon 5 has sold over 20 million albums and received three Grammy Awards. Their debut album, Songs About Jane, became their big breakthrough and its successor, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, did even better. Hits were aplenty: Harder To Breathe, This Love, She Will Be Loved, Makes Me Wonder, Moves Like Jagger featuring Christina Aguilera… the list goes on. Their latest album, Red Pill Blues, was released at the end of 2017 and contained the number 1 hit single Girls Like You, featuring Cardi B. This past January, Maroon 5 had the honor of performing during the Super Bowl Half-Time Show.

Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, known simply by his surname Ozuna, is a Puerto Rican reggaeton and Latin trap singer. In early 2016, Ozuna rose to prominence for his appearance on the single La Ocasión, going from strength to strength ever since. He has released two albums to date; 2017’s Odisea and 2018’s Aura, and won two Billboard Music Awards and three Latin American Music Awards, among others. In 2017, he made his acting debut in the film Que León.

Six years after making her debut in Curaçao the ‘Empress of Soul’ Gladys Knight is returning to the island. With her band The Pips she had great hits, such as I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Midnight Train To Georgia, and Baby Don’t Change Your Mind, in the 1960s and 1970s. At the end of the 1980s Knight started her solo career and found instant success with the James Bond title track License To Kill. Her latest album, Where My Heart Belongs, was released in 2014 and is a bona fide gospel album, on which The Pips also performed. Knight now has seven Grammy’s and numerous other awards to her name.

Jamaican band Third World celebrated its 45th anniversary last year. Calling themselves ‘Reggae Ambassadors’ and describing their sound as reggae fusion, Third World mix reggae with many other genres such as soul, funk, and disco. Their biggest hit to date was 1978’s Now That We Found Love. Their success has brought them all over the world and put ten Grammy nominations to their name. Their latest single, Loving You Is Easy, was produced by Damian Marley and released earlier this year.

Cuban Timba band Havana D’Primera was founded by Alexander Abreu in 2008, the band was formed by a collective of musicians in the Cuban music scene, numbering 17 members in total. Abreu is considered one of the best trumpeters of his generation, and is also a skilled composer, singer, and bandleader. Fusing rhythms across salsa, jazz, funk, and Afro-Cuban, the band have released four studio albums so far. The latest is 2018’s Cantor Del Pueblo, which landed them their second Latin Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album.

Aymée Nuviola, nicknamed ‘La Sonera del Mundo’, is a well-respected singer from Cuba who trained at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in Havana. Nuviola is one of the biggest Cuban stars of today, and she even recorded a song with American legend Jackson Browne. As a young singer Nuviola moved to Miami where her solo career really took off. Last year she won her first-ever Latin Grammy Award for her 2017 album Como Anillo Al Dedo.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts & Nevis ‘Takes Off’ in 2019

Basseterre, St. Kitts (March 20, 2019) – Demand for St. Kitts & Nevis as a premier destination for travelers continues to rise, with air arrivals for the first two months of this year posting a year-to-date increase of 15.3% system-wide as compared to the same period in 2018. Results are even better from North America, the destination’s largest source market, registering a year-to-date increase in air arrivals of 19.3% for January and February 2019 as compared to the same months in 2018. This continues the growth of airlift from major gateways in 2018, which increased over 2017 by 9.3% system-wide and reached a total of 153,364 air passenger arrivals for the full year, the highest number ever recorded in the destination’s history.

“I am extremely pleased to see such strong increases in air passenger arrivals to our Federation for 2018 continuing into peak season 2019,” said the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism for St. Kitts & Nevis. “These numbers are a clear indication that we are gaining momentum towards reaching our goal of 150,000 stayover visitors in the next few years.”

“We redoubled our marketing efforts in the fourth quarter of last year specifically to support our additional peak season air service and these numbers demonstrate that we have achieved very successful results,” added Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “With the milestone airlift arrivals recorded for 2018 and performance last year in the months of March and June nearing 30% growth over the same months in 2017, the significant growth measured so far in 2019 signals a rising demand for St. Kitts as a highly desirable travel destination, particularly from North America and for key events such as St. Kitts Music Festival. We will continue to employ this successful marketing formula as we strive to reach our goal of 150,000 stayover guests by 2021 from our primary source markets of the US, Canada, UK and the Caribbean.”

St. Kitts’ marketing strategy maintains a particular focus on reaching individuals who are a match with the geo-demographic lifestyle data of its target visitors in key gateway markets to support airlift year-round as well as marquee island events including St. Kitts Music Festival. In the fourth quarter of 2018, additional digital, print and spot TV advertising combined with public relations to communicate special offers and raise brand awareness in and around select North American cities comprised a coordinated campaign to grow arrivals for peak season 2018-2019. The Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority also work closely with airlines to systematically build out air bridges to/from identified target gateways to grow service in a sustainable manner while making the island increasingly easy to reach via air.

St. Kitts & Nevis welcomed non-stop Saturday flights from Minneapolis that started December 22, 2018 and operate through April 20, 2019. In addition, from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, the destination receives Wednesday non-stop flights that started January 9, 2019 and operate through March 6, 2019 to complement existing non-stop Saturday flights. Looking ahead to the summer, new non-stop Saturday flights from Dallas starting May 25, 2019 and operating through August 17, 2019 open up a new gateway with easy connections from Houston and the western states of the US.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, Ja Rule Set to Headline at 50th Anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival

NEW YORK, NY (March 18, 2019) – Music legends Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, and Ja Rule will be headlining a concert at the 50th Anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival. On April 25, the three globally renowned musicians will take the stage at the Soulful Company concert. Presented by the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), the concert promises to provide a night of “smooth groovin’ and boppin’.”

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival. Festivities will officially take place from April 20 to May 7, with pre-Carnival activities kicking off on March 16. At 33 days in overall length, St. Maarten Carnival is the longest carnival in the Caribbean.

“We’re so excited to welcome Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, and Ja Rule to St. Maarten,” stated the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten, Ms. May-Ling Chun. “To have these three artists, all who have impacted the international music scene on such a large scale, headline at the 50th anniversary of our renowned Carnival is a joy and an honor. We cannot wait to see the energy that they bring to the stage.”

The three headliners will also be joined by two of St. Maarten’s best young singers and their bands. Local talents Natisha Hanson and Kenyo Baly will accompany the headliners on stage, representing The Friendly Island at the second iteration of the Soulful Company concert.

“We have so many gifted musicians in St. Maarten, and to bring our island’s local musical talent together with these artists is sure to bring forth a unique, incredible concert,” said St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunication, Stuart Johnson. What’s more, we look forward to the opportunities this collaboration will bring forth for these exceptional St. Maarteners, and can’t wait to see them showcase their musical gifts on the main stage.”

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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AA Resumes Service to Antigua

St. John’s, Antigua (March 14, 2019) – The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and Investment along with the country’s Tourism Authority has announced the resumption of service by American Airlines to and from Miami following the temporary grounding of flights by the US Government of airlines using the 737 Max 8 aircraft. The airline’s Miami and New York turn service will operate tomorrow March 15th with a 737/800 aircraft at 1:11 p.m. to New York and 3:05 p.m. to Miami respectively.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism & Investment, Hon. Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, notes that this is welcome news for local tourism officials and hoteliers. “We thank the visitors for their patience and understanding as we worked with the local civil aviation authority and the local American Airlines office, to ensure that those currently in Antigua and Barbuda were provided with alternative routes for comfortably returning to their home countries following their vacation,” notes Fernandez.

During the disruption in service on American Airlines, tourism officials held discussions with the local American Airlines operations along with Caribbean Airlines, Seaborne and LIAT to examine all options to facilitate the rerouting of passengers via Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and St. Kitts.

The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and Investment along with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority remain committed to the safety of visitors traveling to the destination. The resumption of service to the country’s vital Miami gateway is critical to continue the strong growth in US air arrivals, that Antigua and Barbuda has been experiencing for the first two months of 2019.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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