Excitement in Nassau/Paradise Island: ‘There’s a lot going on here’: Travel Weekly

Gay Nagle Myers

Travelers arriving by air or sea in Nassau and Paradise Island will find “a bustling, growing and bustling area,” according to Fred Lounsberry, CEO of the Nassau and Paradise Island Promotion Board.

“Business is strong right now. We’ve had great numbers for spring break without any of the issues that some other destinations have with that crowd. In fact, we’re thriving throughout the summer, and there’s a lot on the books already,” Lounsberry reported in a recent interview.

He predicted that “2023 and 2024 will be phenomenal years for us”.

Hotel openings and reopenings

Construction crews and cranes are a familiar sight as renovations and rebuilds take shape. Baha Mar’s 694-room Melia Nassau Beach, which closed in 2021 for a $100 million renovation spanning all areas of the property, is set to reopen in 2023.

The Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau, located in downtown Nassau, opened last summer as part of the $250 million Pointe development with a water park, marina and entertainment complex.

Nassau and Paradise Island Promotion Board CEO Fred Lounsberry predicts that

Nassau and Paradise Island Promotion Board CEO Fred Lounsberry predicts that “2023 and 2024 will be phenomenal years for us.”

“It’s a great addition to Nassau’s inventory. The size of the station is deceiving as you walk past it. It’s bigger and bigger than it looks,” Lounsberry said.

The 80-room hotel at Goldwynn, part of the luxury Goldwynn residential complex on Cable Beach in Nassau, plans to open by the end of the year.

The iconic British Colonial Hilton, which had operated since 1924 and was associated with the Sheraton and Best Western brands in the past, closed its doors in February.

However. Lounsberry said “there is a lot of interest in this property. It’s a Nassau landmark, near Government House and the harbor. Whatever brand comes next has yet to be announced. “

The Straw Market, a popular downtown tourist attraction, has been revamped inside and out with new stalls, bright colors and vendors “happy to see tourist activity back”, said Lounsberry.

A new cruise port in 2022

He is excited about the $300 million six-dock port project currently under construction in Nassau with an opening date set for later this year.

In addition to the new terminal, the facility will include an events and entertainment area as well as retail and dining facilities. “It’s sure to attract all visitors, not just cruise passengers waiting to board a Caribbean cruise,” Lounsberry said.

“We had six ships here one day recently, and the whole area was buzzing with activity and energy. Downtown activity is back now that the cruise ships have returned,” he said. .

Lounsberry also attributed the reopening of Sandals Royal Bahamian in January following a $55 million renovation project to increased arrivals in late winter and spring.

This reopening was followed by the opening a month later of a TSA PreCheck checkpoint at Lynden Pindling Airport in Nassau, the first PreCheck location outside the United States.

“This is a very big deal for all visitors departing from the Bahamas on outbound flights. It streamlines the security screening process for passengers and allows for a comfortable departure process as the last leg of a Bahamas vacation,” said Lounsberry.

Across the bridge from Nassau to Paradise Island, the 400-room beachfront resort Somewhere Else is slated to open in 2024 as part of the Atlantis portfolio. The resort will occupy the current site of Atlantis Beach.

Pay a visit to agents

To keep consumers and the trade informed about what’s happening in Nassau and Paradise Island, Lounsberry and his team have partnered with the Department of Tourism for a series of tours this spring in key cities across the United States.

“There is a lot going on here, and we want to send the message that we are open and welcoming and hope the bad times are behind us. We are monitoring this BA.2 variant like everyone else, but our protocols and measures health and safety has served us well over the past two years,” said Lounsberry.

Current Covid protocols require proof of a negative antigen or PCR test taken three days prior to arrival for vaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated visitors must take the PCR test.

All visitors must apply for a Bahamas travel visa and pay insurance to cover medical expenses if incurred while in the Bahamas.