FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – A group of over 200 travel agents converged on Freeport, Grand Bahama over the weekend as part of what The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line (BPCL) dubbed “The World’s largest Seminar at Sea and Fam.”
The travel agent take-over on the Island was jointly sponsored and hosted by BPCL and the Sales Team of The Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO), Florida, who were joined on the Island by the local stakeholders including The Bahamas Tourist Office, Grand Bahama and various Hotels and Resorts
The Fam trip included the cruise aboard the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line from Port of Palm Beach, Florida down to Freeport Grand Bahama. There were several receptions aboard the ship and a Presentation hosted by BPCL.
On Island in Freeport, Grand Bahama, the group took part in site inspections of those hotels that are a part of the ship’s unique Cruise and Stay Program. The experience on the Island ended with a reception featuring Bahamian favorites of conch fritters and Bahama Mama drinks at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort.
Hotels visited on the Fam trip included, The Viva Wyndham all-inclusive Resort, The Pelican Bay Hotel, The Grand Lucayan Lighthouse Point Resort and Flamingo Bay Hotel and Taino Beach Resort.
The presentation hosted by BPCL included the sales team of the Bahamas Tourist Office and was hailed by some of the agents as one of the most important features of the fun filled weekend. Agents said that they found the presentation very educational as it provided information on all that the cruise has to offer.
Both entities, in addition to thanking the large group of agents for taking part in the weekend event, also shared with them that one of the main objects of the Fam was to build relationships with them. “We need you, we can’t do it without you,” Clark Reber, Director of Sales said. “Travel agents are at the heart of what we do.”
Betty Bethel, Director of Sales BTO Florida said that The Bahamas recently experienced one of its largest ever increases in visitor arrivals to the country including Grand Bahama and that 30 percent of the business to the Islands was as a result of travel agent bookings. She told the agents that the numbers to Freeport are climbing and that after the Fam, “We are looking forward to seeing another growth spurt.”
Clarke Reber shared with agents that BPCL has many best kept secrets including, “Big staterooms, lots and lots of open deck spaces, no single supplements and even a welcome reception for solo travelers,” He added that the ship’s casino is smoke free and that the cruise offer interactive programs for kids from 3 to 17 years.
The cruise line’s Director of Sales also shared that the ship’s demographics are millennials biased with the largest demographics being ages 24-35, and the second biggest demographics being 18-24. He did note however that while the millennials mostly dominate the weekend sailings the age 55 and above were mostly represented on the midweek sailings.
The Bahamas Paradise Cruise line is a year-round, two-night cruise that sails every day of the year from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. The nearby airports within driving distance of the cruise port includes Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. It was also announced during the presentation on the ship that the Cruise Line recently entered a new partnership with Florida’s Brightline train system. The Cruise Line also provides valet parking
Tina Lee, District Manager, BTO Florida, said of the Fam that it was a great opportunity to work on establishing relationships.
The Fam trip is a part of the final phase of The Bahamas Minisrtry of Tourism and Aviation’s initiative against driving business to Freeport Grand Bahama. Over the past week’s the Tourist Office conducted a number of Travel Agent Presentations and events throughout South Florida and Orlando, “Summertime in Freeport.”
The first Fam trip to Freeport (as a part of the initiative) took place on Balearia Caribbean Ferry the first week of June. The final Fam Trip will take place in July when travel agents will fly out of Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida via Bahamasair and stay two nights at the Grand Lucayan’s Lighthouse Point Resort.
Travel agents expressed differing views on what was the highlight of the weekend but many of them spoke highly of the stop in Freeport and especially enjoying what one described as a “picture perfect day with lots of sunshine and beautiful blue skies.”
The agents who hailed mostly from parts of Florida – a few were from as far as Alabama and Mississippi – shared that they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the cruise especially the food and the entertainment, which surpassed their expectation.
One of the agents said of the Fam that, “The weekend of activities allowed us to experience everything to equip us to be able to tell clients of this fun and easy way to enjoy both a cruise and a fun time in a tropical destination for a ‘two-for-one’ vacation experience.”