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Family Island News
Resorts World Bimini, Sky Bahamas and Ministry of Tourism promote domestic tourism
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:54

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Resorts World Bimini (RWB), Sky Bahamas and the Ministry of Tourism are teaming up to encourage Bahamians to discover the beauty of the Islands of The Bahamas. The “Going Back to the Islands Domestic Tourism Sweepstakes” is designed to encourage Bahamians to become tourists in their own country.

Winners of the sweepstakes will be drawn from among all Bahamians purchasing airline tickets to any of Sky Bahamas’ destinations within The Bahamas between now and the opening of Resorts World Bimini’s new luxury boutique hotel which is scheduled to open this spring. The owner of the winning ticket will be treated to a weekend for two at the hotel.

“Bimini has always been a special place,” says RWB President Dana Leibovitz, “however with the new luxury boutique coming on stream, the upgrades to the airport, and the prospect of daily service of the SuperFast cruise ship, the island is being elevated to an even higher level. We welcome to the opportunity that the sweepstakes offers to have Bahamians experience this island jewel first hand.”

Sky Bahamas just recently reintroduced its service into Bimini. While it currently flies to the island only on weekends, the airline is making plans to expand its service in the near future to meet the increasing demand.

“Bimini is on the move, and we anticipate expanding our service to the island as it attracts more and more traffic,” says Sky Bahamas CEO Captain Randy Butler. “We are excited about working with Resorts World Bimini to help meet the airlift demand that their development will bring to the island.”

Prime Minister opens Andros Institution
Written by BIS   
Monday, 10 February 2014 11:44

Prime Minister Perry G. Christie plants a banana sucker during the  official opening of the Tutorial Commercial Farm at the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute in North Andros, February 5.  (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay).  NORTH ANDROS, The Bahamas – The government reached another milestone in the quest to complete an agricultural institute in The Bahamas. On Wednesday, February 5, Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie led a delegation of government officials to North Andros for the official opening of the Tutorial Commercial Farm at the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute. Mr. Christie said this is a major step in the direction to make islands such as Andros, Abaco and Eleuthera producers of breadbasket items.

Stating that this can only be accomplished via major investments, Mr. Christie said the government is poised to take all the necessary steps to ensure the success of initiatives such as these.

To this end, he pledged to award over $20 million in contracts to contractors in Andros with the objective of developing 200 acres of land in North Andros into commercially viable vegetable and livestock farms. This land would be used as training grounds for future farmers.

“Let me tell you what was always on my mind and what has always been my dream: that this agricultural institute will grow the economy of North Andros,” said Mr. Christie. “When you add the amount of investments that will be made to what we already have in place, there is no question that this will have a major impact on employment and the economy of this island.”

During his visit to North Andros, Mr. Christie was presented with a box of produce grown by students of North Andros High School. Speaking to the ‘budding’ young farmers, Mr. Christie said that acts like this exemplify the government’s objective of making agriculture a "viable" source of income for Bahamians.

Resorts World Bimini offers career opportunities for local residents
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:39
BIMINI, The Bahamas – Resorts World Bimini proudly announces the launch of a new six-week Roulette training course for local residents. One of several comprehensive training programs created by Resorts World Bimini, the class provides participants the opportunity to further their career in the casino industry and underscores the company’s commitment to providing employment opportunities for local Bimini residents. Upon successful completion of the course, selected graduates will be offered employment at the casino. Resorts World Bimini has already positively impacted the island of Bimini by creating hundreds of jobs at the resort, as well as opportunities for local businesses, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the island’s entrepreneurs and vendors.

“Resorts World Bimini is committed to providing new career opportunities and growth to the residents of the Bahamas,” said Dana Leibovitz, President of Resorts World Bimini. “As development plans for the resort evolve, so too will employment opportunities for local residents.”

During the last year, Resorts World Bimini’s 750-acre beachfront property has undergone a series of multi-million dollar upgrades, including the construction of the 10,000 square foot Resorts World Bimini Casino, creating nearly 400 jobs on the island. The Roulette training course is just one of several, and the company will continue to launch a series of additional employee training programs across the board as it prepares to open its new 325 room contemporary-Bahamian style luxury hotel in the upcoming months. Consistent with its own product development plans, Resorts World Bimini will continue to support the further development of the community and enhance the livelihood of the people of the island.

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Ministry of Tourism holds Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary church service in Fresh Creek, Andros
Submitted by BIS   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 09:36

The Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary church service of the Ministry of Tourism was held at Living Word Ministry in Fresh Creek, Andros, January 27, 2014. Rev. Newton Hamilton JP, delivered the spoken word. Pictured from left front row: Ivan Ferguson, Administrator for North Andros and the Berry Islands; Vanda Rahaming, Chief Councillor North Andros; Cleola Pinder, Administrator Central Andros; Tyrone Sawyer, Director of Airlift Development MOT; and Antoinette Davie, Manager of Family Unit. Also pictured (second row) is Peter Douglas, Manager Sustainable Tourism at Fresh Creek Office MOT yellow shirt.  

Ministry of Tourism's 50th Anniversary church service in Bimini
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 13:52

GOLDEN JUBILEE - Director of Films in the Ministry of Tourism Craig Woods brought remarks on behalf of Minister Obie Wilchcombe at the Ministry of Tourism's 50th Anniversary church service in Bimini. The sermon at Unity Church of God was preached by the senior pastor, Bishop Edmond Ellis and Prescott Young, senior manager Ministry of Tourism, Bimini, read the Prime Minister's Proclamation at the luncheon. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)    

Pictured from left: A representative from Ministry of Tourism, Bimini; Maxine Williamson, General Manager Visitor Relations Department; Officer Burnside; Mrs. Woods; Mr.Young; Mr. Woods, Oscar Munroe, Administrator Bimini and Jack Thompson, Office of The Prime Minister. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

DPM ready for San Salvador National Park System to become a reality
Submitted by Zina Williams   
Monday, 27 January 2014 13:42
Pictured is Hon. Philip SAN SALVADOR, Bahamas – Recently, the Member of Parliament for San Salvador, The Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis, held a public meeting in San Salvador to address the proposed national park system for the island, which includes five areas proposed for protection.

“The Bahamas National Trust commends the DPM and Member of Parliament for San Salvador for holding this public forum, particularly to obtain feedback from his constituents for a National Parks System for San Salvador” noted Lakeshia Anderson, BNT Parks Planner.

Nearly 100 residents and business owners attended the public meeting, where panelists included the Deputy Prime Minister, former MP of San Salvador Mr. Philip Smith and Island Administrator Mr. Harvey Roberts.

Michael Goffe, President of the San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation, gave remarks expressing the enormous response from local supporters, and return visitors who are willing to financial contribute to the management of these parks. Ms. Anderson spoke on behalf of the BNT at the meeting, noting that they have worked closely with the San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation since 2005, to educate and implement outreach programs to help raise awareness of the importance of protecting San Salvador’s natural resources. “The Trust is fully committed to collaborating with the San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation,” said Anderson “and to work along with the San Salvador community to develop management prescriptions to guide the day to day use of the parks once established.”

Local resident, Jermaine Johnson, has recently been hired as a BNT Liaison Officer in San Salvador to facilitate on-the-ground work for re-engaging stakeholders in the park planning process. In addition, the BNT has secured funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to implement a 2-year project to re-engage the San Salvador communities in education and outreach initiatives for National Park designation in San Salvador, and funding to develop management plans for the 5 areas proposed.

Abaco MOT reflects on 50 years of sustainable eco-tourism growth
Written by BIS   
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:05

Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Harrison Thompson addresses the congregation at the special church service in Marsh Harbour Abaco to celebrate the 5oth anniversary of the Ministry of Tourism. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn) MARSH HARBOUR, Abaco -- Prime Minister Perry Christie has declared Tourism’s Golden Jubilee to be the “Year of Culture”.  He believes that proper promotion and integration of cultural tourism into the national, regional and international marketing strategies of The Bahamas will fit in well with the sustainable approach to tourism with the hope of having a vibrant product from January to January.  

Pastor Stanford Symonette read the Prime Minister’s Proclamation defining the role of cultural diversity in building tourism in Abaco during a special church service at the Parish of St. John the Baptist Anglican Church in Marsh Harbour, January 22. Permanent Secretary at the MOT, Harrison Thompson, explained how tourism developed in Abaco since before Independence 1973.  

“Other aspects of the Bahamian culture, from folklore and story-telling, to language and dialect; religious tourism and festivals, and events, will play significant roles in the development, promotion and delivery of the cultural tourism-based economy of The Bahamas,” said Mr. Thompson.  

“Abaco has a high rate of return visitors, upwards of 70 percent, which tells of the visitor satisfaction with us.  This level of satisfaction is also evident in the high end resort developments, either now open or under development.  We note that worldwide economic conditions have impacted Abaco’s growth, but our second homeowners, visitors and clients are still enamoured with our island and our economy has fared better that other Bahamian Islands.”  

Mr. Thompson said in the early 1950s, tourism was a seasonal commodity that lasted three months of the winter, when the wealthy people from the northern United States and Canada would come south for the warm sunshine, pristine waters and the white sandy beaches.  

Tropic Ocean Airways announces launch date for new Abaco service
Submitted by John Bell   
Thursday, 23 January 2014 12:04

Fort Lauderdale-based Tropic Ocean Airways today confirmed its inaugural two-day-a-week scheduled seaplane service to Hope Town, Great Abaco will begin on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14ABACO, THE BAHAMAS — Fort Lauderdale-based Tropic Ocean Airways today confirmed its inaugural two-day-a-week scheduled seaplane service to Hope Town, Great Abaco will begin on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14.

Tropic Ocean Airways, which re-instituted regular seaplane service to the Bahamas in 2011, is partnering with Fort Lauderdale-based IJet Charters, to offer direct flights to Hope Town, a popular, but often time consuming trip for air travelers.

It’s anticipated the new Friday and Saturday service should be an instant hit with the thousands traveling monthly to and from a final destination in Hope Town. Jim Swieter of IJet Charters said the seaplane, a new eight-passenger Cessna Caravan Turboprop, which flies out of Sheltair at Fort Lauderdale International (FLL) greatly streamlines TSA screening processes and custom checks and can literally drop off guests directly on the beaches at Hope Town, eliminating the need for taxi and ferry transportation from the airport at Marsh Harbor. Tropic Ocean has also confirmed scheduled two-day-a-week service from Galaxy Aviation at Palm Beach International Airport will begin March 14th.

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