Thursday, April 15, 2010

'Bahamas For Beginners' spolights German visitors

By NINA LAING

The Ministry of Tourism's (MOT) plans to increase international exposure for The Bahamas are proving successful, as was suggested by the scene at the Grand Bahama International Airport yesterday.

A delegation of 20 German natives arrived on island Tuesday as part of the "Bahamas for Beginners" sweepstakes to enjoy a four-day vacation courtesy of the MOT, Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, Condor Airlines, and German radio station hr1.

The sweepstakes, which ran in Germany for 10 days between March and April, saw radio listeners participating in a Bahamas oriented treasure hunt for a chance to win an eight-day vacation to The Bahamas.

A total of 10,000 participants were narrowed down to 10 winners who, along with their respective guests, earned an island-hopping journey through the Baha-mas as the prize. The Bahamian experience began for the group in Nassau on April 9.

Betty Bethel, general manager of business development for MOT, said that the Ministry is always seeking to forge alliances with various countries and markets identified as business partners. This particular promotion, she said, was just one of the ways they go about doing this.

"It's a unique tool, it's actually a fun tool and a way to promote the islands of the Bahamas and to promote the services that we have direct from Germany into Nassau, then, of course with connecting opportunities to the various islands like Grand Bahama," Bethel said.

"So this was definitely a very creative way of getting the word out in the German market about the Bahamas and then to actually get persons from Germany here to experience some of the things that they may have done in the treasure hunt."

In addition to exposure, Bethel noted that the presence of the German visitors would bode well for the island's economy.

She pointed out that the visitors "are free to select any number of activities and tours to participate in" and it is expected that they will seize these opportunities, especially where water-related activities are concerned.

Anchorman for hr1 radio Lars-Henning Metz supported Bethel's belief when he noted that the station in Frankfurt, Germany has a wide following and, thus, thousands were exposed to the Bahamian promotion.

Metz explained that he was pleased with his first visit to The Bahamas and thought it important to encourage more Germans to take advantage of the flight offered by Condor for a similar experience.

"Condor and the Bahamian Tourist Office wanted to get more people to travel (to The Bahamas)," he said. "It will help, first, to promote the Bahamas. On our radio station, we have about 1,000,000 listeners each day, and this promotion was about 10 days long and the trailers were on-air three weeks long. So over a million people knew and heard the word 'Bahamas'."

Metz said that the "Baha-mas for Beginners" sweepstakes offered benefits for hr1 as well as The Bahamas.

Stations in Germany attract listeners by way of promotion, he said, and the recent promotion held by hr1 would boost their popularity as well as the tourist traffic into The Bahamas.

"The Germans, they are travelling a lot and we have to show them how sweet and nice the Bahamas is," he said. "The promotions to the Bahamas are very good because Germans are very interested in other countries and other cultures."

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