Ministry of Tourism and GIV Bahamas celebrate partnership in global success of swimming pigs
In a powerful display of public and private partnership, GIV Bahamas Inc. presented the Minister of Tourism with an official copy of ‘When Pigs Swim™’, the film that helped ignite a transformational marketing campaign for the Exumas.
“Since the film’s release in September 2014, it has been incredible to see the swimming pigs grow from a niche attraction to such a global phenomenon,” said Jeff Todd, Director of Communications for GIV Bahamas Inc., who met Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Minister of Tourism and Aviation, following a press conference in Nassau. “We believed the pigs were a sleeping giant in terms of their ability to market the destination. But without the support of the Ministry of Tourism, none of this would have been possible.”
D’Aguilar received the full 15-minute version of the film, which has been re-produced for the first time since it screened at film festivals in The Bahamas and various cities in the United States.
The film was financed by Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc., and the largest owner at Grand Isle Resort & Spa.
Charlie Smith, the noted Bahamian director and former host of the popular show Electric Air, was hired by GIV Bahamas Inc. to bring the swimming pigs to life, with Todd serving as the screenwriter.
Beginning in December 2014, ‘When Pigs Swim™’ hit the film festival circuit in collaboration with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, with some screenings featuring Junkanoo dance groups and even a piglet walking the red carpet. While the movie has been viewed millions of times in various forms online, the tipping point came when the Ministry of Tourism aggressively incorporated the pigs into their global marketing campaign.
Swimming pigs can now be found in commercials, on billboards, websites, pamphlets and countless social media posts. Hotels and resorts quickly followed suit, as tourists flocked to the island to catch a glimpse of the unusual spectacle.
“Exuma is the most beautiful place in the world. That is why I started investing there more than 12 years ago,” said Nicholson.
“While the swimming pigs help get people’s attention, people will stay for the beauty. I thank the Ministry of Tourism for lending their expertise and powerful marketing machine to Exuma and the swimming pigs. It has been a truly dynamic partnership.”
Meanwhile, there are signs the swimming pigs have grown even bigger than Exuma.
Baha Mar, the new mega resort in Nassau, now features a high-end pub offering known as The Swimming Pig. Open 24 hours a day, and located right off the casino floor (the largest in the Caribbean), this venue has proven to be a hot-spot for the new development, featuring mounted photos of the pigs and Exuma’s famously blue water.
New pig colonies have also sprung on the Bahamian islands of Abaco and Eleuthera/Spanish Wells to meet the high demand among all tourists headed to The Bahamas.
What’s next for the swimming pigs? Their marketing potential seems to be limitless.
To learn more about the history of the swimming pigs and their rise to fame, you can pick up a copy of Todd’s new book – Pigs of Paradise: The story of Exuma’s swimming pigs – here.