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Grand Bahama Island ready for travel restart with airport expansion and upgrades

Grand Bahama Islands ready for travel restart with airport expansion and upgrades
Grand Bahama Island

Grand Bahama Island has taken a series of major steps in preparation for the day when US travelers regain their confidence and once again venture forth. As their nearest and most familiar neighbor, Grand Bahama Island is ready to welcome them back!

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  1. The temporary airport facility at the Grand Bahama International Airport has doubled in size to over 8,000 square feet.
  2. This expansion and upgrade allows for better handling of baggage, an additional 250-seat departure area, and efficient visitor processing.
  3. Attracting sufficient airlift and proper marketing of the island is critical to its success says State Minister for Grand Bahama.

In a recent visit to tour and inspect the temporary terminal facilities at the Grand Bahama International Airport, Directors and Member Hotel Managers of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board saw firsthand the additional work being carried out to address in the short term, the needs of air passenger service to the island.

The temporary airport facility at the Grand Bahama International Airport has doubled in size to over eight thousand square feet and is now better prepared to service both international and domestic travel markets. This significant expansion and upgrade of the facility allows for better handling of baggage, an additional 250-seat departure area, and the efficient processing of visitors through Immigration, Customs and Baggage Claim in the arrivals terminal.

The plan for the overall redevelopment of the Grand Bahama International Airport is nearing the final stages, as the Government completes its negotiations with the Hutchison Group and the Grand Bahama Port Authority to acquire ownership of the airport. “We are pleased that the Government has received high interest from companies who want to have a public/private partnership (PPP) in the redevelopment of the airport,” declared State Minister for Grand BahamaSenator Kwasi Thompson.

“Attracting sufficient airlift and proper marketing of the island is critical to its success, and we are extremely pleased that post-Dorian and post-COVID we still have investors who are willing and able to come and invest in GBI.”

Grand Bahama’s stakeholders are pleased with and encouraged by the progress on the airport, observing that the additional work that is nearing completion directly addresses the deficiencies that were pointed out by previous users of the facilities. 

Marco Gobbi, General Manager of the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Resort, which has consistently operated on Grand Bahama for the past 30 years, confirmed that his ownership remains committed to the island.  “In our opinion, the temporary airport facility is adequate for processing air passengers to the island.  We are confident that as we work towards rebuilding demand for our property, further improvement of the airport facilities will happen.”

The Viva Wyndham Fortuna is reopening on April 25, and the team under Gobbi’s direction is working hard to meet that goal amidst the changing marketplace conditions, the latest being the new requirements for entry into the United States.  “We will be making some special opening offers, and perhaps also include the rapid test in our packages to make it more attractive for our visitors from the USA,” stated Mr. Gobbi.  

Sean Basden is Vice President of Taino Beach Resorts & Clubs, which is the largest Bahamian owned and operational resort on Grand Bahama Island. A time-share Resort with approximately 5,000 members, the property is comprised of approximately 160 timeshare units that consist of one- and two-bedroom condo units. Basden shared that in addition, the 66 hotel units at the Flamingo Bay Resort, one of the three Taino Beach properties, are completely open, including its Marina facilities, with 25 Boat Slips and a good client base that comes mainly from the South Florida market. Continuous upgrades to all the units have been underway, despite the fact that the property has not benefitted from any external assistance programs in the wake of both Dorian and COVID.

“Our Staff Members have benefitted from the Government’s unemployment program, and I must say that it has been a great help to them,” said Mr. Basden. “Our focus is on keeping up the standards of our property, to ensure that we are open and ready.  We have enjoyed great support from the local market and domestic visitors from the other islands.”

On March 25, Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan resort will be reopening, “We are delighted to welcome back our many legacy guests after 12 months of Coronavirus induced closure, and to all, we say, we are back!” stated Chairman, Michael Scott, QC.

“On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, we are truly thrilled to welcome you once again to our world-class resort. The added safety and security protocols will assure you a safe and happy experience, giving you the peace and serenity our resort offers as well as enticing you to indulge in our many amenities and experiences; whether it be lounging on the beach, spear fishing, golf, the thrill of deep-sea fishing or just simply exploring the beautiful Island of Grand Bahama.”

Special promotions geared toward domestic tourism, such as golf packages, weekend getaways and “staycations” for residents of Nassau, the Family Islands and locals, will be available.

To help safeguard both guests and staff members, Grand Lucayan implemented advanced safety protocols and best practices in response to COVID-19. Upon returning, all staff members will be administered daily temperature checks, required to be tested weekly and complete extensive trainings on precautions and preparedness, and will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while on-site. In addition, social distancing guidelines and signage will be posted throughout the property, touchless hand sanitizing stations will be readily available and public spaces will frequently be disinfected.

Guests of Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan enjoy exceptional, crowd free amenities, including access to its progressive fitness facilities and 18-hole championship golf at The Reef Course, acclaimed as one of the world’s “Top 100” golf courses. In addition, the property presents visitors with easy access to a myriad of fresh air excursions, from biking along historic trails and birdwatching at the nearby Rand Nature Centre, to horseback riding along the sparkling shoreline or fishing in one of the world’s top sport fishing regions.

Known as “The Jewel of Grand Bahama Island,” Port Lucaya Marketplace, the largest shopping, dining and entertainment open air facility in The Bahamas, lies just a short walk from the property and presents cultural consumers with an endless supply of specialty stores, restaurants and bars. Nearby, the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) offers adventure travelers and eco-tourists a variety of expeditions, including informative dolphin encounters, thrilling shark feeding and cave dives in the extensive labyrinth of submerged tunnels at Lucayan National Park.

For more information on Grand Bahama Island please visit the official website of the GBI Tourism Board: www.grandbahamavacations.com;  follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/ visitGBI; Instagram: @visitGBI ; Twitter: @visitGBI .

About Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board

The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB) is the private sector marketing and promotion agency for Grand Bahama Island.  The GBITB is mandated to support economic growth for tourism stakeholders on Grand Bahama Island. 

Activities include the development and execution of various marketing and promotional initiatives designed to enhance and increase Grand Bahama Island’s awareness and profile in the market.  The Board’s membership includes a wide range of tourism related businesses including the accommodation sector, restaurants, bars, attractions, transportation providers, artisans and retailers.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Meshell Britton

T: 242-727-2416/242-352-8356

E: [email protected]

Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board

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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.