The Islands Of The Bahamas is known globally as one of the top boating destinations in the western hemisphere. Moreover, recent statistics reveal that over the past three years there has been an increase of more than 60 percent in the number of boaters to The Bahamas.
Commenting on the impressive figures at the recent Palm Beach International Boat Show, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Director General, Joy Jibrilu, said that the increase is “just the beginning or the tip of the iceberg” and added, “We are all behind this and all over this to do everything we can to continue to grow this business.”
The Palm Beach Boat Show took place March 28th– 31st at downtown West Palm Beach waterfront, and featured more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories, including hundreds of boats ranging from 8-foot inflatables to super yachts near 300 ft in length.
“Coming here and seeing a boat show of this magnitude, (and) getting to see firsthand, not just all the companies that are here, but the boats that range from the leisure boats to the mega yachts, also, the volume of people coming in and talking business and doing business is just phenomenal,” the Director General said, adding that with the most beautiful waters in the world, coupled with its proximity to Florida, The Bahamas is poised to take full advantage.
“The beauty of this type of business is that when these yachts come to The Bahamas, they come with a crew, they stay in port, they buy provisions, they pay for people to come in and service and clean. The trickle-down impact is far reaching,” the Director General said.
Richard Treco, Sr. Manager at the Bahamas Tourist Office, Florida, and responsible for the country’s boating market, said that the Palm Beach Boat Show is a very important one, even though not one of the largest. He noted that “The show draws high end boaters, has a mega yacht section with many of the ‘big hitters’ in the boating industry and exhibits featuring the latest electronic devices such as state of the art GPS and satellite systems, all speaking to the affluence of the crowd it draws.”
The Sr. Manager led the team from The Bahamas Tourist Office representing the destination at the show. The country was also represented however, by many of its Resort and Marina Partners, some with exhibit booths on display throughout the show.
The Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) was well represented at the show by its leadership and members of its Board, including the President, PeterMaury, Board members, Joe Devarage and Stephen Kappeler, as well as its Executive Director, Basil Smith. The association, which represents the interests of the boating, sports fishing and marina industries in The Bahamas, works with the country’s tourism ministry to promote boating to The Bahamas.
Representatives of the ABM embraced the presence of Director General Jibrilu at the boat show, and shared with her on their continued efforts to increase boating business to The Bahamas. The ABM also took the opportunity to present the Director General with an honorary membership card to ‘Voyager,’ a category of membership that offers participating boaters exclusive benefits such as discounts, cruising guides and invitations to special events.
The Director General was also introduced to and met briefly with local Bahamas boating partners including members of Florida’s Super Yachts community, who shared boating interests and concerns.
The DG took the opportunity to thank the group for all of their business to The Bahamas, expressed delight at the partnership and vowed to work even more closely with all concerned to continue to make boating to The Bahamas as easy as possible.
“This has been a wonderful experience, my first boat show, but definitely won’t be the last,” the Director General said.