Grand Bahama Hosts BHTA Meeting

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Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) executives, members and industry partners gathered at the Grand Lucayan in Freeport Grand Bahama, for the October 2017 BHTA Board of Directors and Members Meeting.


President of the BHTA, Carlton Russell expressed his sentiments regarding the visit to Grand Bahama; “We were so pleased to be given the opportunity to visit Grand Bahama once again. This incredible island, with its diverse offerings, stellar infrastructure, its proximity to the US and most importantly, its proud and talented Grand Bahamian residents, is a jewel that needs only a polish and the perfect setting atop a befitting band of gold, to be considered one of the finest islands in our archipelagic nation”.

The formidable cadre of tourism professionals in the public and private sector included Deputy Director General Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, then Chairman of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board; Carlton Russell, President of the BHTA, Vernice Walkine, Vice President, BHTA Allied Members and NAD President and CEO; Dean Spychalla, Senior Vice President, BHTA and President of the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board; Jamal Glover, Treasurer of the BHTA, Jackie Carroll, BHTA Vice President for Grand Bahama, Basil Smith, BHTA Chairperson representing the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM); Rembert Albury, Executive Vice President, Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, Desmond Keefe, Executive Director Culinary Arts & Tourism Studies, University of The Bahamas; Stephen Kappeler, President of the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM);  General Managers from Hotel Properties in Grand Bahama, Allied Members and representatives from the Ministry of Tourism.

The meeting morphed into a “think tank” experience, where some of the brightest minds in the industry discussed how Grand Bahama could capitalize on “low hanging fruits” to help stimulate new markets and buoy the destinations influx of visitors. Targeting swiftly burgeoning Marina Ports, such as Stuart, Florida to attract sea faring visitors; stay vacation packages for Bahamians living in New Providence given the diverse plethora of experiences in GB, and the abundance of flights from the capital; and welcoming business that may be unable to travel to regions in the Caribbean due to the recent spate of hurricanes, were just some of the short-term opportunities the group deliberated.

“It was very important for the BHTA to meet with industry partners and members in Grand Bahama, we look forward to continuing to nurture our synergies” stated President Russell “our association is known as The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association for a reason, because we represent the entire country; we are committed to doing our part to ensure Grand Bahama reaches her potential as a key participant and influencer in the tourism industry.”

Caption:
From left to right back row: Magnus Alnebeck, GM, Pelican Bay; Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Tourism; Diego Giribaldi GM, Viva Fortuna; Desmond Keefe, Executive Director Culinary Arts & Tourism Studies, University of The Bahamas; Basil Smith, BHTA Chairperson for the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) and Executive Director ABM;  Rembert Albury, Executive Vice President, GBITB; Stephen Kappeler, President of the ABM;  Hadley Forbes, H Forbes Charter, Dean Spychalla, SVP, BHTA and President of the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB); Jamal Glover, Treasurer, BHTA; Kerry Fountain, Executive Director BOIPB., Ian Rolle President, Grand Bahama Port Authority 

Left to right front row: Pastor Lockhart, Calvary Temple Church; Carmel Churchill, Director of Marketing Services, GBITB, Meshell Britton, Manager, GBITB, Karen Seymour, Director Ministry of Tourism- GBI;  Erica Gates, Proprietor Grand Bahama Nature Tours; Veronica Clarke, Resort Manager Grand Lucayan; Jackie Carroll, BHTA, VP for Grand Bahama and GM Old Bahama Bay, Vernice Walkine, Vice President, BHTA Allied Members and NAD President and CEO; Suzanne Pattusch EVP, BHTA and Carlton Russell, President of the BHTA.