Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, November 11, 2019…… The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB) continues to lay the foundation for the upcoming winter season, updating both industry partners, stakeholders and potential visitors on the latest developments on island. The successful recovery of the island’s tourism industry is critical to the overall recovery of the island, and the economic well-being of her residents. At the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, the GBITB took advantage of their presence there to also thank all the many industry partners and visitors who have supported the island and contributed to their recovery.
At the Grand Bahama Airport, the management team officials are working diligently on repairs to the flight safety operations and navigational aids to extend the operating hours of the airport beyond clear weather in daylight hours. TSA certified temporary modular units have been installed and will be used to house administration, flight operations as well as ticketing and baggage collection and distribution, until the new permanent facility comes on stream.
Mid-November is the target date set for the resumption of direct flights to and from Fort Lauderdale, subject to approval by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Today, passengers from the United States have been successfully connecting to Grand Bahama via Nassau flights on Bahamasair and Western Air.
The Freeport Harbour is fully operational and both Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines and Balearia Caribbean have resumed their regular schedule of calls. Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Pride, Carnival Elation and Carnival Freedom have also resumed calls to the island. Carnival expects to host 39 calls in Freeport by the end of the year, bringing more than 100,000 visitors to the island.
One of the most welcomed developments is the reopening of the Port Lucaya Marketplace, one of Grand Bahama Island’s most iconic attractions, known for its great shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, which took place with much fanfare on October 18th. The popular Conchman Triathlon, sponsored by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, took place on November 2nd, another indication of life slowly returning to normal on the island. The Festival Noel, Grand Bahama’s Wine and Art Event, marking its 25th anniversary this year, will take place on December 6th at the Rand Nature Centre, with all proceeds going towards hurricane restoration of the Grand Bahama National Parks.
Following are the latest updates from the stakeholders:
As of November 7, 2019, just over 1,000 rooms are available on Grand Bahama island.
- Bell Channel Inn, Castaways Resort & Suites, Lighthouse Pointe/Grand Lucayan, Ocean Reef Resort, Pelican Bay Hotel, Royal Islander, Sunrise Resort & Suites, are all open for business.
- Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach is scheduled to open on December 10th.
- The Village Bahamia is currently housing displaced local residents and will reopen for leisure travelers in Summer 2020.
West Grand Bahama
- Old Bahama Bay. Resort & Marina, Bootle Bay Fishing Lodge are all open for business.
- Blue Marlin Cove & Marina tentatively plans to reopen in January 2020.
- Dundee Bay Villas, Mayfield Beach & Tennis Club, and Taino Beach Resort (The Marlin and Coral buildings only), are open for business.
- Island Seas Resort is now slated to open on November 26.
On-Island Transportation and Attractions/Dive & Watersports
- H. Forbes Charter Services, S & D Coach Tours, Paradise Cove, Reef Tours, Taxi Services, Hertz, Avis and other rental car services are available. International Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO): all vessels floating and dolphins are safe. The facility is fully operational.
- Grand Bahama Nature Tours: Revised limited tours include canal-kayak & beach with a maximum capacity of 20 persons, ATV tours with a maximum of 10 persons and Bicycle tours with a maximum capacity of 20 persons. The proposed date for restarting Jeep tours is December 1, 2019.Garden of the Groves: Cleanup and restoration underway, with a proposed opening date of December 1st.
- Pirate’s Cove Zipline & Waterpark: Zipline should be up and running by end of mid- November. All other activities are available, paddleboards, kayak, etc. are fully operational.
- Bahamas Adventures is fully operation with the park and other activities.
- Port Lucaya Marketplace reopened on October 18.
- Ocean Motion Watersports is open but reservations are mandatory; operations are limited.
- Crystal Beach/Celebrity Eco-Adventures’ pigs are all fine and the beach has been cleaned; Pig Tour, beach and snorkel activities are all available.
- Fragrance of the Bahamas Perfume Factory is open and operating.
- Rand Nature Centre will reopen to host the 25th. Annual Festival Noel on December 6, 2019.
- Westend Ecology (stingray tour, etc.) is operational with a maximum capacity of 6 persons per trip.
- Westend Watersports plans to reopen in December 2019.
- Blue Green Outdoors tours of the Eastern end of the island are suspended indefinitely. The western heritage tour is operational and can accommodate up to 7 persons.
- Caribbean Divers, Calabash Eco Adventures, Exotic Adventures, Grand Bahama Scuba, Lucaya Watersports, Paradise Watersports are all open and operating.
- Coconutz Cruisers is operating motorized bicycle tours.
- Renu Day Spa is open and offering all services.
- Bahamian restaurants Better To Serve You, Out Da Sea Bar & Grill, Dive-In Bar & Restaurant, Greek Express, Flying Fish Gastro Bar & Restaurant, Geneva’s Place, Mary Ann’s Restaurant, Merport Bistro, Ocean’s Grill (Ocean Reef Resort), Pepper Pot Restaurant, East Sushi Bar/Pier One Restaurant, Sabor’s Restaurant, Sire’s Restaurant, The Stoned Crab Restaurant and Upstairs Restaurant at Bell Channel are all open for business.
- The Wednesday Fish Fry (Penny’s, Outriggers and Da Bus Stop) in Smith’s Point, Gully Wash in Smith’s Point, and Toads on the Bay in William’s Town, are all back in business.
- Fast food restaurants Burger King, KFC, Subway, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Marco’s Pizza are open.
For more information, and to assist with the recovery and reconstruction process on Grand Bahama Island, please visit the following sites: https://www.gbdisasterrelief.org/; https://rotary6990.org/; and https://www.bahamas.com/relief .
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.