Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA), attended the opening of a special Bahamas Charter Yacht Show on February 25, at the Rybovich Superyacht Marina in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The two-day charter broker-only show was organized by the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) in partnership with the BMOTA and the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA). Participating in the show were 80 of the top charter brokers who book charters to The Bahamas, along with yachts ranging in sizes 78 to 213 feet.
Exhibitors included: ABM, Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Romora Bay Resort & Marina, Valentine’s Resort & Marina, Bay Street Marina, Hurricane Hole Marina, Nassau Yacht Haven, Abaco Beach Resort, Tropic Ocean Air, United Island & Yacht-United Shipping and Makers Air.
Originally scheduled to take place in Nassau, Bahamas in February 2021, the show was moved to the Rybovich Superyacht facility to accommodate the international brokers and respect the current COVID-19 restrictions by the Bahamasgovernment.
While at the show, Minister D’Aguilar conducted one-on-one meetings with the brokers thanking them for their continuous support of The Bahamas and educated them on The Bahamas’ new digitised Click2Clear cruise platforms, safety travel protocols, new marina products and destination experiences available to them and their guests.
The Minister noted that “prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism to The Bahamaswas performing remarkably well and was poised for record-breaking performances. The impact of the pandemic, however, was felt by us all. Despite a slower rebound, especially with our hotels and airline operators, we are indeed grateful to our neighbors in the North who continue to visit us by private aircrafts, boats and charter yachts, which have benefited our Family Islands greatly.”
“As COVID-19 cases here in the U.S. decline daily, and as more and more businesses begin to reopen and persons prepare to travel again, we want to remind you and your guests, that The Bahamas, blessed with great beauty, diversity and geography (located 50 miles from the U.S., the world’s greatest economy and three of the largest cruise ship ports) is open for business. Our entry protocols are quick and easy, and we are ready to share our hospitality with you,” said Minister D’Aguilar.
According to Peter Maury, President of ABM and owner of Bay Street Marina, “We simply could not let the opportunity to hold this event at Rybovich Marina pass us, especially when the international charter brokers were already here in Florida, and 90% of the charter yacht business that comes to The Bahamas is booked through these brokers.”
“COVID -19 has changed the rules of engagement for doing charter business. The Bahamas government must be commended for its swift actions to curtail COVID-19 cases, install digitized cruise and charter platforms and reopen its borders and economy, quickly and safely, especially as other destinations remain closed for business,” said Joseph Dargavage, Vice President of ABM, Partner at Romora Bay Resort & Marina and Chairman for the Bahamas Charter Yacht Show.
“As a result of this, The Bahamas destination has now been added to many new brokers’ schedules, and we have seen an increase in enquiries and charter yacht bookings to the destination like never before. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the potential revenue that yacht chartering can provide to us. In fact, The Bahamas is still in its infancy stage in this charter arena, and based on the feedback and interest shown in The Bahamas destination, I expect yacht charter business in The Bahamas to grow five-fold, within the next five years,” he said.
“We also plan to conduct a series of small Bahamas charter show events in Floridathroughout the year to further promote The Bahamas, its ease of getting there, safety protocols and culture. Plans are also underway to hold the 2022 Bahamas Charter Yacht Show in Nassau, comprising three days in Nassau with post trips to the Out Islands,” said Darvagage.