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2021 Oshkosh Exceeds Expectations of EAA Organizers and Bahamas Team

VIP Helicopter Tour – EAA Execs provided Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation executives with helicopter tour of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds. L-R: Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary and Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General. Photo courtesy BMOTA.

The 2021 Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh, held July 26 through August 1, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has ended. From all accounts, aviation enthusiasts, in record-breaking numbers, agreed to the theme, “The Wait is Over.” “The Show exceeded the expectations of both the EAA organizers and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation’s (BMOTA) teams, despite a challenging and most unconventional year,” said Greg Rolle, Sr. Director of Vertical Markets, BMOTA.

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  1. Organizers did not know what to expect of the event, but the aviation community spoke loudly – it was ready to come to Oshkosh.
  2. The event theme of “The Wait is Over” proved to be well chosen as indeed it was worth the wait.
  3. Joy and excitement permeated throughout the grounds, setting the stage for the return of AirVenture.

“This was perhaps the most challenging set of circumstances we’ve ever faced as an organization to make the event happen. We went into this year not knowing what AirVenture would look like and how big of an event was possible. The aviation community spoke loudly, though – it was ready to come to Oshkosh and we were happy that we could welcome them. Our theme was ‘The Wait is Over,’ and indeed it was. The wait was worth it. There was joy and excitement throughout the grounds, and it set the stage for the return of AirVenture, making us very excited about the future,” said EAA CEO and Chairman, Jack Pelton.


Permanent Secretary, BMOTA, Reginald Saunders, flanked by members of BMOTA team. L-R: Deckrey Johnson, Aram Bethell, Nuvolari Chotoosingh, Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary, Greg Rolle, Jonathan Lord, Jon Tonko, Banyan Air; and Nathan Butler, Bahamas Customs. Photo courtesy BMOTA.

Based on statistics given by Pelton, some 608,000 persons, from 66 countries attended this year’s show, the third highest number in the show’s 68th year history. A total of 16,378 aircraft, including 3,176 show planes (a record 1,420 vintage aircraft registered, 1,089 homebuilt, 354 warbirds, 148 aerobatic aircraft, 112 seaplanes, 33 ultralights and 27 rotorcraft) participated. A total of 567 media professionals attended the event and more than 18.95 million social media impressions were generated.

Echoing the sentiments shared by Pelton, Rolle said, “The world is still grappling with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, so we certainly did not expect the high level of interest shown in The Bahamas. Neither did we anticipate the remarkable level of success experienced at this year’s show, which was evident by the number of people who visited our booth and attended the business meetings and daily seminars, as well as the outcome of our networking efforts.”

Networking with EAA International Federal Partnership (IFP) agencies, of which The Bahamas is a member, are air enforcement agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection unit, L-R: Nathan Butler, Bahamas Customs; Chris Doug, US Customs & Border Protection;  Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary, BMOTA;  John Cook, US Customs & Border Protection; Greg Rolle, Sr. Director, Verticals Market, BMOTA; Deckery Johnson, BMOTA and Aram Bethell, BMOTA. Photo courtesy BMOTA.

“No doubt, there is great interest in The Bahamas and a pent-up demand to visit our country – be it from visitors, private pilots or business operators. We have generated vast amount of business opportunities and group leads for fly out to our islands, from this show,” Rolle asserted.

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About the author

Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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