Our Shared Experience: Caring About Each Other

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Our Shared Experience: Caring About Each Other

By Rich Luna | Oct 1, 2019

A few months ago, I wrote about shared experience, reflecting on the euphoria of our World Education Congress in Toronto. The education, the networking and even the millions of Toronto Raptors basketball fans who converged on the city to hoist a trophy at the same time gave us all reason to celebrate.

There’s another shared experience that merits acknowledgement about our community. We care. We care deeply about each other. Sure, the business can be awfully competitive, but when someone or somewhere is in need, there is no greater unified voice than that found in the meeting and event industry.

Remember Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and California when natural disasters took their toll? Last year, it was the Carolina coast, and before that, the tragic shooting in Las Vegas—all moments of grief and pain that rallied our industry to stand together to support our friends and colleagues.

In recent weeks, we have again given to those in need, this time in the Bahamas.

“It has been so encouraging to hear from so many people who are offering to help us,” Fred Lounsberry, CEO of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB), said during IMEX America in Las Vegas. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island. They need your help. But Nassau and Paradise Island are very much open for business and you can help us by continuing to visit.”

Lounsberry was making the rounds during IMEX America, and every few steps would bring another handshake, another hug and words of encouragement.

To date, there have been no cancellations on Nassau Paradise Island, which is great news. About 15 percent of the overall tourism business there is attributed to meetings and events, and the remaining economic impact comes from tourism.

“Respectfully, we are extremely sensitive to what has recently happened to Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos, and we are here to support them in any way we can,” said Douglas Trueblood, senior vice president of marketing for the NPIPB. “Our primary message is that Nassau Paradise Island and the Out Islands of the Bahamas are open, and we encourage both visiting guests and those in the meeting and event business to continue to come to our island. Nassau Paradise Island has numerous resort properties and meeting facilities, and we need your business now more than ever to support our island community.”

The Abacos and Grand Bahama Island, the two islands in the Northwest Bahamas devastated by the hurricane, are facing a massive rebuilding that could take years. Food, clean water, shelter and health services remain critical needs for the thousands who were injured or left homeless following the strongest storm to ever hit the Bahamas.

Industry partners such as Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and many others have stepped up, pledging financial support and helping with the delivery of needed food and supplies. As part of its fundraising auction at IMEX America, the MPI Foundation donated the proceeds of two vacation packages on new Carnival Cruise Line vessels, with all proceeds to help the people of the Bahamas.

To learn how you can help those in need, go to NassauParadiseIsland.com or Bahamas.com/relief.

Until next time…

Rich Luna
Editor in Chief



Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.