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New Gateway To Bahamas Opens In Vancouver

  • Air
  •   10-23-2014  3:38 pm

New Gateway To Bahamas Opens In Vancouver

Vancouver will have direct flights to the Bahamas this winter for the first time when new service to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island on Sunwing airlines begins Nov. 1. Initially the new service will include a stopover in Calgary, with non-stop flights departing YVR on Fridays starting Dec. 19.

To mark the occasion and meet with local travel trade media, top tourism delegates from the Bahamas were in Vancouver yesterday for an exclusive event at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obadiah Wilchcombe said enhanced flight schedules have contributed to the revitalization of the Island’s tourism sector.

Wilchcombe said that the Bahamas began to modernize their airports years ago to become more competitive when they began to see an influx of tourists arriving in the winter months- and reached out to officials at Vancouver Airport for input.

“Our airport needed change, and we were instructed to come to Canada, and we came and met with YVR, and they demonstrated the most modern [facilities], and showed us that an airport is not only where you take flight- it’s where you can spend hours, and enjoy shops and restaurants, and a social environment, and that’s what they are in the Bahamas today,” the Minister said.

Wilchcombe said the Freeport Grand Bahama has been distinguished as the number one airport in the Caribbean.

“That is because of the relationship we established here, and now we are beginning direct service from Vancouver to Grand Bahama and it will continue through the season,” he said.

Wilchcombe also said Grand Bahama Island continues to see airlift improve and its hotel sector expand.

 “[Vancouver] is a growing market, one of the strongest markets in Canada,” Wilchcombe told PAXnewsWest.

“It’s a market in itself, and if you can capitalize on all areas of the Canadian market you can benefit significantly, and to provide that direct service is significant, that’s the key- so they have the option, as opposed to going to Hawaii, now they can go to the Bahamas.”

Sunwing’s Graeme Franklin, director of sales, Western Canada was also on hand at the event, and said the airline is happy to be able to offer the new service from YVR.

With the introduction of the Vancouver service, Sunwing now offers eight Canadian gateways into Grand Bahama Island.

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Photo: Carmell Churchill, director of marketing, Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, Graeme Franklin, director of sales, Western Canada, Sunwing, Obadiah Wilchcombe, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu, director general, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Betty Bethel, director, Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama Island, Ellison Thompson, deputy director general, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Paul Strachan, director, Bahamas Tourist Office.