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Johann

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 Posted June 1st, 2012 11:47 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
The new government has cut hotel taxes on GBI by 50% in an effort to increase tourism on the island.

http://www.thenassauguardian.com/in...=31367&Itemid=2

In the same article it mentions air arrivals are up 22% over last year.
Jeff K

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 Posted June 4th, 2012 05:13 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
New hotels are not needed. Whats needed is things for people to do when they get there. So many good places have closed over the years. The International Bazaar is a ghost of its former self. The old Princess is slowly decaying away. Those used to be prime destinations. As a result of them closing it affected everything around them. Ruby Swiss used to be awesome. I hear its only so-so now. The lowering of the hotel tax is a start but that doesnt get people to the island. I paid more to get there this year than Id ever paid before and it was hard getting a flight I thought was convenient. Maybe that will improve with Bahamas Air going farther afield. We shall see.
charles

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 Posted June 4th, 2012 07:17 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Jeff, You nailed the problem, but even if Bahamas Air works out for a while there won't be repeat business if there is nothing to offer but sand and water.
PunkyBBB

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 Posted June 5th, 2012 09:10 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Jeff/Charles - you both are so correct. There is nothing for anyone to do! I just had friends go for the first time because they know I go all the time and they came back and ask why. Said it was lovely, but only thing to do was hang out at the beach, pool. Shops in PL - the girls was crazy trying to get them to purchase items. Casino was terrible, they have done the snorkling thing. Now they did say that it is the place to go if you just don't want to do anything at all, but if you want something to do you should go to another island. It is very sad.
seashell

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 Posted June 5th, 2012 09:24 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
What exactly were your friends looking to do? We have been to many other islands and they all offer the same things such as beaches, casinos, parasailing, golf and shopping. The straw market vendors on the other island were also very aggressive. As far as getting people off the cruise ships you have to be one of the first stops. People tend to stay on board at the last stop because they have seen it all and spent their money elsewhere.
PunkyBBB

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 Posted June 5th, 2012 12:57 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Seashell, my friends were not on a ship, they flew in. I go quite often, so I have no need to do anything and that is the way I like it, however, the straw market vendors in PL are not only very aggressive but the are RUDE! I am not trying to bash anyone or anything with my comment, as I stated, they loved the beach and pool area, just would have like to have more activities, better service when they ate out, maybe around where they were staying. I was simply agreeing with Jeff and Charles, you can lower prices and that is good for a one shot deal but the trick is to get people to come back. I will always go back cause I like to do nothing.
seashell

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 Posted June 5th, 2012 02:02 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Punky- Regarding the cruise ships I was referring to Johann's earlier post. But I am still curious as to what activites your friends were looking for on an island? I think they need to get some charter flights coming in again but the way the airline industry is going it does not look like a possibility. We are in the midwest and Mexico seems to be the cheapest destination for people as far as airfare and hotels. Being a long time homeowner on Grand Bahama I am just curious as to what people are looking for.
Jeff K

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 Posted June 6th, 2012 06:20 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Freeport and Lucaya are not really for those people looking for a grand adventure or who are into thrill seeking. There are things to do when you get bored with sitting on the beach or around the pool but if you want real excitement you need to go elsewhere. This year I heard no mentions of people going to swim with the dolphins. Is that still open? What about kayaking out to Petersens Kay? While I was down a couple of weeks ago(feels like months already) at Taino they said they had some kind of big kayaking tournament scheduled to take place off shore of the resort. Im sure that will bring in a lot of business and give the resort some needed publicity.
Johann

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 Posted June 11th, 2012 01:22 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
The funny thing is there's more to do on GBI now than there has been since the hurricanes. I never have trouble finding something fun to do. Now finding out about it is another story. Unlike Mexico, marketing is nonexistent, and they seem fine with that. Neither the government nor the Port Authority is particularly interested in improving marketing except as it relates to industry or the cruise ships. You just have to talk to people.

In the end, it's a small, flat island without historical or archaeological attractions. There's only ever going to be so much to do. But that's no different than anywhere else in the Caribbean really - there's more to do in Freeport than any other Caribbean Island I've ever been to except Nassau, which I don't care for. More things coming I've heard too, mini-subs, ATVs, etc. But most people are only on island for a week, and there's for sure plenty to keep anyone occupied for a week. You just have to know where to go and be willing to spend a little money - there's not a ton of free attractions.

Certainly a lot more than the out islands of the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. Not as developed or as big as places like Mexico of course, but none of the islands are. There are some that are more developed like Aruba or Jamaica but not many.

Punky, it sounds like your friends were among the unfortunate ones that fail to do any advance planning of their trip. Those are always the ones that you hear say that. It's tough to figure out what to do once you're in town, you need to have it laid out a bit in advance. Cruise ship passengers the same thing - you have two groups, the "nothing to do" crowd that plans nothing and wanders around the port for a couple hours and goes back on the ship, and the "can't wait to go back and stay for awhile" crowd that planned their day ahead of time and had a blast.

We had friends stay on the island for 2 weeks, and they had a blast. Didn't want to go home. Several guests this year had experiences that they called "best day of our lives". It is what you make of it, and of course depends on what else you are used to doing on vacation.

Yes, dolphins do still exist and they've added even more activities now like open water swim and dive with the dolphins. Kayaking too, actually a lot more options than ever on that front - three companies at least doing kayaking trips, several to choose from each. GB Nature Tours who does the Peterson Cay one still doing all their usual tours plus just added the tall ship and working on adding more very soon. Doing better business than ever, though mostly with the cruise ships.

Bottom line though - barefoot on a white sand beach by lunchtime for like $250.00 RT is hard to beat, even in Mexico. I recently had to fly to Tortola 2-stop for like $1k per person, took about 8 hours! Now if they'd just expand to some other cities like that.
(Edited by Johann)
ritzbeachbum

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 Posted June 12th, 2012 01:58 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
another bargin double the price and then cut it in half and call it a sale.

"In the same article it mentions air arrivals are up 22% over last year" they might consider planes landing as "air travel" but there are a whole lot less people getting off those planes the airport and taxi stand are empty.

Dave I think Value is a good term to use, how many time can you swim with the dolphin? and go snorkeling at deadman.

I think grand Bahama has just become a one time visit for the younger folk, they are bored after 3 or 4 days. They want places where there is something different to do 24 hour a day.
after all they are the future of the island, if you cant get them to take a 30-minute flight from Fla because it's to costly or they have done it all before then thats the end of the island.

No busness can stay open if people dont return

RBB
royritz

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 Posted June 12th, 2012 06:16 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
I also have never had a problem finding things to do, I have been coming to the Ritz Beach for 14 years and have never left the island let down. I have a young teen now and she can't what to go back. We went to Deadman's reef last year for the first time and can't wait to go back. Yes we do the same stuff such as swim in the ocean, walk on the beach , snorkel in the ocean, watch the night show on the Square, Smith Point fish fry, Gold Rock and Barbary beach walks. Fishing of the rocks, eating in Port Lucuya ,walking the marina and so on. Yep same old stuff and love it. It beats the snow. They do need better marketing of things that people can do, but the things to do are here and I can't wait to go back this next March
charles

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 Posted June 12th, 2012 09:04 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
There are things to do, but if a tourist wants to plan using the net it's virtually impossible. Any search of "grand bahama" and even "grand bahama tourism board" yields misleading, outdated mazes that are frustrating at best and virtually useless. These sites are doing more harm than good and should be updated or shut down. Most repeat visitors probably first went to GBI before mid 2000 when the resorts, golf courses, casinos, international bazaar, and port lucaya were hopping. After a few visits it's pretty easy to uncover other less glitzy intertainment options.
Johann

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 06:38 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
rbb, actually the stat is for passenger arrivals. Consider this year the new routes for Vision Airlines brought in a lot of people on their 747s that didn't exist last year. Charles, you're very correct but sites like TripAdvisor have made it a lot easier than it was before.

Just some suggestions for things to do other than PL, Deadmans, Beach and Dolphins:

Deep Sea Fishing
Waverunners
Parasailing
Bottom Fishing
Bonefishing
Island Adventure
Powerboat Adventure
Snorkel Owl's Hole
Scuba Dive Ben's Cave
Bike Tour of West End
Historical Island Tour
Day trip to Water Cay
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Scuba Diving Tiger Beach
Kayak to Peterson Cay
Snorkeling Peterson Cay
Snorkeling Treasure Reef
Catamaran Sail & Snorkel
Sunset Catamaran Sailing
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
Snorkel Gold Rock Reef
Golf one of the 4 Courses
Discover Scuba Diving
Bonfire on the Beach
Junkanoo Beach Club
Jazz on the Beach at Tony Macaroni's
Fish Fry at Smith Point
Fish Fry at Sunset Village
Semi-Submarine
Robinson Crusoe Cruise
Sunset Booze Cruise
Make Your Own Bonfire on the Beach
Beach Volleyball
Sunset Dinner Cruise
Rent a Limo and Cruise the Island
Bahamas People to People
City Tour
Garden of the Groves
Champagne Speedboat Sunset Cruise
Island Hopping to Abaco or Bimini
Snorkel the Blue Holes of East End
Kayak Gold Rock Creek
Freeport Bike Tour
Jeep Tour
Birdwatching Tour
Cruise on Bahamas Celebration
Day Trip to Fort Lauderdale
East End with a Local
Cage Diving with Tiger Sharks at West End
Rent Bikes
Rent Scooters
Spend the Afternoon at Bishops in High Rock
Hang out at Bahama John's in Pelican Point
Canal Cruise
Wave Runner Island Tour
Banana Boat Rides
Water Skiing
Windsurfing
Wakeboarding
Rent a Hobie Cat
Horseback Riding Williams Town
On Da Rocks Saturday Nights - Live Band
Out Da Sea - Regular Live Bands and Parties
Dance at Neptune's
Happy Hour at Flying Fish
Waste Away the Day at Banana Bay
Day trip to Abaco
Day trip to Lightbourne Cay
Excursion to Cat Island
Snorkel the West End Cays
Picnic on a Deserted Island off West End
Dive Little Bahama Bank
Day trip or Overnight to Old Bahama Bay
Shelling on Lovers Beach or Bahama Beach
Bahamian Cooking Demonstration
Snorkel from Taino Beach
Take a Ride on the Mail Boat
Dive with the Dolphins or Open Ocean Swim
Friday Nights "Upstairs" with Jay Mitchell
Kayak Hawksbill Creek
Kayak the Blue Holes of East End
Go Conch Diving
Spearfishing for Lobster or Fish
Cultural Center
Rand Nature Center
Watch Shark Feeding at Pier One
Bahamian Night at Grand Lucayan
Bar Hopping - Go Local
Sunday Nights at the Sandbar
Gamble at the Casino
Count Basie Square Weekends
Spend a day meeting people in a settlement
Watch stingrays at Billy Joe's
Day trip to Sweetings Cay
Picnic or Walk on a Beach You've Never Been To
Shark Dive or Scuba with UNEXSO
Snorkel or Dive with Viva Divers
Overnight at Deep Water Cay Club
Dive the Walls of East End
Kayaking at Dover Sound
Blue Hole Adventure
Dive Owl's Hole
Sail on the Historical Green Lady
Play Dominos with the Locals
Kitesurfing
Boogie Boarding
Attend a Bahamian Church Service
Friday Nights at Garden of the Groves
Attend Local Festivals and Cultural Events
Mini-Crab Fest
Happy Hour at Sabor or the Grotto Bar
Piano Lounge at Churchill's
Get a Massage on the Beach
Darts at Redbeard's
Rent a car and get off the highway
Get clothes handmade at the Bazaar
Get a Midnight Snack at Pepper Pot
Hit the Local Nightclubs
Socialize at Rum Runners or Corner Bar
Visit Berta's for some Oceanside Crack Lobster

That's just off the top of my head...I'm sure I missed some nice things too. Should get most people through a week with plenty to look forward to I think - not bad really considering it's just a small flat island with no historical or archaeological attractions that inhabits only about 50,000 people. As airlift increases, the tourists will return. It will be a slow process though.
royritz

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 08:26 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Thanks for the fantastic list of things to do. It reminds me of things I have not done in a while or even knew about. You mentioned areas I do not know such as Lovers beach. If you search Bahamas.com you find a very brief decsription with no great map or directions etc.of where it is. The point is that it takes lot of work to find some of the great things on the Island. Back home if I drove to a new tourist area I would go to the local tourist booth and ask for a map of the local beaches and I would probably get a great map and description of how to get there and a list of other things to do too. The best I would probably get in Freeport is to get a Things to Do booklet with lots of commercial advertising for shopping etc and a small map of the entire island, but not any specific directions of how to get to a great beach to go shelling. The best tips and directions to events in the Freeport area I have gotten has been from this chat page over the years ( thanks to all for that ) Your posted list is a great example that there are tons of things to do, but how can everyone find out and keep coming back for more.
Johann

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 09:51 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
There are ways to find out, but due to the complete lack of marketing and total lack of interest I've encountered in improving the marketing of the island's attractions, best bets are just to drive around and stop in and start talking to locals, go places expats hang out and talk to them, drive yourself down side roads to see what is down there, use a site like Tripadvisor, or take some of the tours - that is really a great way to learn about things you never thought existed. Not the cruise-ship tours so much but the more personal sightseeing tours, gather business cards, and a really underutilized asset is the Bahamas People to People program. It's like grocery shopping in GBI - there is no one place to get all the information - you have to go "information gathering". LOL
PunkyBBB

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 12:39 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
WOW - I didn't mean to stir things up and in no way do I believe there is not anything to do and I did not say they didn't like it! HOWEVER , that information you provided Johann maybe, just maybe if someone would provide it to people who are vacating. They would not feel like there is "nothing" to do but the pool and the beach. I have been going since 95' and everytime I goes (sometimes 5 times a year, but at least 3), I still pick up a "What to Do" - and in all those years and in all those trips, I don't know why I pick it up and of course I still read it, it has the same out dated material in it. I am sorry if I upset anyone with my agreement with Jeff and Charles (see you guys got me in trouble again) and Johann, I agree with you the COMPLETE lask of marketing and interest in GBI is just TERRIBLE! I love that little place and cannot wait until my sister Flamingo moves there (2 more months) - HURRY UP GIRL and get my room ready!!!!
Danny

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 03:00 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
The Tourism Board on GBI wouldn't know how to properly promote the place if it jumped up and smacked them in the head. They should all be sent to Myrtle Beach for lessons in how to do things right!

Danny
charles

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 06:43 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
You're right Danny, but the Myrtle Beach thing wouldn't help. They just aren't motivated to make an impact. They had a Tourism Board office in Port Lucaya Marketplace, but in the 10 years I was there I never saw anyone in it. Those jobs should be commision only. Then they may add some value. Chas
Danny

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 Posted June 15th, 2012 09:51 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Neither did I Chas. I also stopped at their office that was by the International Bazaar at least three times to thank someone and they treated me like I had the plague. That person I wanted to thank was the only one who ever did anything to keep the old Tourism Forum clean. She actually was able to keep the board up and running for nearly two years after they announced it was going down and tried to get them to do things the right way. Her reward was better than most - they transferred her to Nassau.

Danny
Jeff K

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 Posted June 16th, 2012 08:09 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Johann, that list is just awesome! I will have to cut and paste that to a doc I can hold in my hand. Danny maybe you can copy that post to a thread of its own. It would be nice if people could provide more specific details about each(i.e. how to get there, when to go, how much it is). Its too bad we have to do something that someone on the island should be doing. Sigh.
Johann

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 Posted June 16th, 2012 09:02 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Nobody's upset at you Punky...it just opened a nice segway into a good discussion on the forum for a very relevant topic that we all have something to share about. Seems some useful info has already come out of it, so great that you are sharing about your experiences!

The problem Jeff, is that in order to really know all those things you have to live there or visit a lot, and if you live there or visit a lot and god forbid try to share anything about the island then you risk getting kicked out by immigration because "a Bahamian could have been doing that". Even taking a picture and posting it on a website I've been told could be considered "work" if you produce any kind of income from that website at all. So, nobody thinks it's worth the very real risk, and the government and GBPA couldn't care less. I've yet to hear a public official who doesn't agree with that statement.

That's why there continues to be no good information made public regarding the attractions of Grand Bahama and probably will continue not to for a long time to come. But, on the other hand, it keeps it quiet and pristine for those who enjoy that kind of thing.
Danny

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 Posted June 16th, 2012 10:42 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Quote:
Jeff K wrote:
Johann, that list is just awesome! I will have to cut and paste that to a doc I can hold in my hand. Danny maybe you can copy that post to a thread of its own. It would be nice if people could provide more specific details about each(i.e. how to get there, when to go, how much it is). Its too bad we have to do something that someone on the island should be doing. Sigh.


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