The Bahamas’ Primary Meeting Locales Still Open for Business

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The Bahamas’ Primary Meeting Locales Still Open for Business

By Rich Luna | Sep 6, 2019

Two distinct and equally important storylines are emerging in The Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

The Abacos and Grand Bahama Island, 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 a critical need for the thousands who were injured or left homeless following the strongest storm to ever hit The Bahamas.

The other important storyline is that Nassau Paradise Island, more than 150 miles from the storm’s epicenter, was not directly affected by Hurricane Dorian, and meeting and leisure officials want everyone to know the island, which hosts the majority of resorts and meetings facilities in the country, is open for business.

“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,” says Douglas Trueblood, senior vice president of marketing for the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.

Nassau Paradise Island, more than 150 miles from the storm’s epicenter, was not directly affected by Hurricane Dorian.


“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.”

Trueblood says The Bahamas is currently in full hurricane relief mode to support the Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos, and are directing everyone to or to learn how to help with the recovery process.

“We are extremely thankful for all the recent outreach of assistance from around the world,” he says. “We are deeply saddened by the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian to the Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos and feel confident that over time we will rebuild this nation. In the meantime, we are reaching out to the masses to let them know that with respect to our sister islands that were hurt, it is important to mention that Nassau Paradise Island and the Out Islands are open for business and we encourage guests to visit our islands and to continue to support our community, and in turn, our country.”

Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport has remained open.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) is urging travelers to keep and pursue their vacations to the islands that were not affected and remain open. In addition to Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island, other destinations that were not impacted include Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Andros, Bimini and The Berry Islands. The islands in the Southeastern and Central Bahamas also remain unaffected, including The Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Inagua. The Bahamas is made up of more than 700 islands.

“While we are still processing the impact that Hurricane Dorian has had on our country, we must stay strong for our friends, loved ones and neighbors on Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos,” says Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson, deputy director general of the BMOTA. “We appreciate the outpouring of support from citizens around the world and we ask that you continue to donate, send prayers and visit Nassau, Paradise Island and the Out Islands that were not affected.” 

Trueblood says to date, there have been no cancellations on Nassau Paradise Island, but the Abacos’ business “will need to be revisited for many years to come and with high hopes that the Grand Bahama Island will be able to be back online within the year.”

About 15 percent of the overall tourism business in The Bahamas is attributed to meetings and events, with the remaining economic impact coming from leisure tourism.

The meeting industry, which will gather in Las Vegas next week for IMEX America, is contributing to the relief efforts in The Bahamas. Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have all stepped up, pledging financial support and are helping with the delivery of needed food and supplies.

The MPI Foundation, as part of its fundraising auction at IMEX, is donating the proceeds of two vacation packages on new Carnival Cruise Line vessels, with all proceeds to help the people of The Bahamas.

“We are all shocked and saddened by the images we continue to see out of The Bahamas and the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian,” says Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Carnival has already pledged US$2 million in relief aid and our employees and guests are joining us. I am touched by the offer from the MPI Foundation to donate the proceeds from the Carnival Cruise Line auction prizes towards our fundraising efforts. To that end, we are donating three cruise packages—two to benefit Bahamas relief, and one to benefit the MPI Foundation.”

Global DMC Partners and its partner in The Bahamas, Equilibrium Group, is organizing a drop off at IMEX for such items as toiletries, hygiene items, diapers, baby formula, first aid items and more.



Rich Luna

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