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News : Ministry of Tourism Updates Last Updated: Aug 4, 2021 - 3:53:35 PM

Bahamas Builds on General Aviation Opportunities at 2021 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Show
By Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation
Aug 4, 2021 - 12:47:17 PM

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A Full Circle Moment – The newest Bahamas Flying Ambassador, Steveo Kinevo, a famed pilot and social media influencer who VLOGs all his Bahamas flights on YouTube to millions of viewers, stopped by The Bahamas’ booth at Oshkosh. In 2018, Steveo was discovered while at Oshkosh and was inducted as a Bahamas Ambassador by Mr. Thompson, who will demit office on August 27, 2021 after 43 years at the BMOTA. From left to right are: Greg Rolle, Sr. Director, Verticals and Aviation; Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary; Steveo and Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General.

Team Meets with Key Aviation Industry Partners and the Media

OSHKOSH, Wisconsin – “Officials from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA) are actively pursuing new business opportunities for the destination while at the 2021 Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh Show in Wisconsin,” said Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General, BMOTA.

“In addition to the high level of interest shown by persons wanting to visit The Bahamas at our booth, we have received so many enquiries from pilots who have attended our daily Flying to The Bahamas seminars, specifically designed for them, and who are planning a fly out to The Bahamas.”

“Four days into the seven days show, we have already held some very productive one-on-one meetings with key industry executives like Aircraft Owners Pilots Association (AOPA), on joint programs to further promote and enhance The Bahamas’ profile in the marketplace and to its 400,000 pilot- member body to further increase visitor arrivals. These programs will include joint marketing initiatives, expansion in digital communications, asset management access, among others,” he said.

VIP Helicopter Tour – EAA Executives provided Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation executives with a helicopter tour of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds, to get a bird’s eye view of the thousands of aircraft and guests attending the ‘Greatest Aviation Show’ in the world. Pictured left to right is: Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary and Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of our presence at platforms such as Oshkosh or the value of working directly, face-to-face with leaders of AOPA, International Federal Partnership (IFP), EAA, our Fixed Based Operators and our Bahamas Flying Ambassadors.  These relationships have helped propel The Bahamas to the top position, as the leader of General Aviation in the Caribbean,” Thompson reiterated.  

“Just as this platform provides us with unique opportunities for growth, it also alerts us to hear first-hand, of any issues or potential situations these pilots are experiencing that could hinder their decision to visit our beautiful destination.”

“At this show, we discovered that not enough notice was given to pilots on the enforcement of the Bahamas Airport Authority’s $9 security processing fee which is charged to private aircraft and each person arriving internationally. While the fee was increased recently by $2 and had existed in The Bahamas for many years, the transparency of its regulation was inconsistent, and its enforcement took effect less than a month ago.  Moving forward, we will work to correct these shortfalls and provide adequate notice to these pilots, of any upcoming changes,” Thompson said.

Mr. Mark Baker, President of AOPA, held the association’s annual reception for pilots and leading industry professionals at the Waters Club in Oshkosh. Pictured are the Bahamas team, from left to right: Deckery Johnson, Nathan Butler, Nuvolari Chotoosingh, Greg Rolle, Mark Baker, Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary; Jonathan Lord and Aram Bethell

Thompson, who is also responsible for the BMOTA’s Global Sales and Marketing operation in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America, has also spent a large portion of his career leading the aviation and vertical team.  He is scheduled to demit office on August 27, 2021, after more than 43 years at the BMOTA. The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Show will mark one of his last official assignments on the job.

“Aviation is my true love, and this event culminates years of bittersweet, fond memories at the Ministry.  From the creation of our Bahamas Flying Ambassadors program more than 20 years ago, to the induction of our newest Flying Ambassador, Steveo Kinevo, who VLOGs his Bahamas flights to millions of viewers on YouTube and who, we discovered at Oshkosh three years ago, it is only fitting for me to end this chapter of my career and tenure on this great assignment,” Thompson concluded.

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