The recent SeaTrade Cruise Global (STCG) conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was a major success for The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and its delegation of 20 Licensees attending the event. The 4-day conference and expo is renowned as the cruise industry’s premier annual event, a global gathering and networking point for cruise line executives, travel professionals, investors, vendors, and suppliers across all facets of the cruise and maritime industry.
GBPA’s delegation of Licensees, which represented Freeport’s Tourism, Industry, Logistics, and Maritime sectors, not only showcased their businesses but also highlighted the ease of doing business and the benefits of investing in Freeport, during the event from March 27th – 30th at the Broward County Convention Center.
Amongst the participants traveling from Grand Bahama were executives from the Freeport Harbour and Freeport Container Port, Pirates Cove Zipline & Waterpark, Elnet Maritime Services, H. Forbes Private Charters & Tours, Bahamas Distillery Co., Ltd., Pelican Bay Hotel, and Leslie’s Trade and Logistics Services.
GBPA Vice Chairman, Sarah St. George, spoke about the positive response to the delegation’s efforts, stating, “We are thrilled with the success of our participation at the 2023 STCG event. It allowed us to showcase the many investment opportunities existing in Freeport and to highlight the significant progress we’ve made in recent years in terms of business expansion, infrastructure development, and our focus on creating a more sustainable tourism economy for the future,” St. George expressed. “It was great to have our Licensees with us, showcasing the potential of Freeport as a premier investment destination, and we are confident that it will lead to new partnerships and opportunities for our Licensees,” she added.
Licensees shared their positive experiences at the event, with representatives from Elnet Maritime Services noting that they had made new contacts and laid the groundwork for future business deals. “Elnet Maritime attends Seatrade Cruise Global annually, and this year we were excited to partner with the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Invest Grand Bahama,” said Ellie Hepburn, President and CEO of Elnet Maritime.
“It was a successful event for Elnet as we signed an exclusive cruise agreement with the world’s largest cruise port agency network, Inchcape Shipping Services, and we had the opportunity to network with cruise executives through our platinum partnership with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association. The Bahamas took center stage at the event, and we look forward to partnering with the GBPA again in 2024.”
Hadley Forbes Sr., President of H. Forbes Private Charters & Tours, said they were impressed with the level of interest and enthusiasm expressed by attendees visiting the Invest Grand Bahama Booth. “Our sincere thanks go out to the Grand Bahama Port Authority for inviting H. Forbes Charter Services to exhibit at SeaTrade Global. Mrs. Dames and her team did an outstanding job organizing the event, and the networking opportunities were exceptional. Thank you again for the opportunity to partner with you and for a wonderful experience.”
Pirates Cove Zipline & Waterpark also had a successful experience at the event, with David Wallace, their President and General Manager, noting, “There was a lot of interest in our adventure tourism offerings, and we are excited about the potential for growth in this sector. The Grand Bahama Port Authority has given us an opportunity through SeaTrade to meet the world and the major players within the maritime and Cruise Industry….. let’s do it together,” Wallace commented.
President Ian Rolle of GBPA said, “The success of this event is a testament to the potential of Freeport as a destination for investment and business growth. We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our city and the many talented entrepreneurs who call it home.” GBPA and its Licensees are looking forward to building on the momentum generated at the event and continuing to promote the potential of Freeport as a destination for investment and growth.
Partners have already begun discussions around the 2024 event, slated for April 8th-11th, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. “For 2024, we plan to have an entire pavilion with even more Licensees participating and doing so in tandem with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism,” stated Derek Newbold, Chief Investment Officer at GBPA. Following a post-mortem of the event, we’ve come away with some excellent ideas to ensure an even more extraordinary showcasing of Grand Bahama for next year,” Newbold added.