When Pigs Swim™ eclipses 2M views

Production wraps up on new, film-length film, with sneak preview to be unveiled on Staniel Cay as part of book launch for ‘Pigs of Paradise: The Story of the World-Famous Swimming Pigs’

 When Pigs Swim™, the groundbreaking film that helped spark a tourism phenomenon, eclipsed more than two million unique views earlier this month, as filming begins to wrap up on a new, full-length sequel.

HI RES when pigs swim full poster

The film was first commissioned by Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc., in the early months of 2014. At the time, the swimming pigs, while known to some tourists, had not yet broken through as a mainstream attraction. Located on an isolated, inhabited island The Exumas, an archipelago of 365 islands and cays, the swimming pigs had splashed around in relative obscurity for decades.

That changed when Nicholson, along with his Director of Communications, Jeff Todd, hired director Charlie Smith to cast a spotlight on the attraction through a 15-minute feature film.

“Years before, I helped create a second colony of pigs near Emerald Bay, simply to make it more accessible to tourists not wishing to be out on the boat for an entire day,” Nicholson said, who is the largest owner at Grand Isle Resort.

“So even then there was an understanding the pigs had some popular appeal, but we had no idea it would blow up the way it did.”

The film premiered at the Bahamas International Film Festival in December 2014. From there, the rest is history. Media outlets started covering the pigs, Exuma and Grand Isle with regularity, from ABC’s The Bachelor (2016), to NBC’s Today Show (2016), to Angry Birds (2015), the popular mobile game franchise.   2018-01-09 11.53.18

Meanwhile, footage from When Pigs Swim™ was incorporated into countless publications and viral videos that went around the world, reaching millions worldwide. Droves of celebrities shot selfies of themselves on the island, followed by legions of their followers and fans.

Another major development was the participation of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, which placed the film on their websites and promoted the attraction through global marketing campaigns. For the first time, hotels began advertising and featuring the swimming pigs as well, and soon, colonies began sprouting up on multiple islands, with other islands looking to cash in on the craze.

“None of this would have been possible with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism,’ Todd added.

“They saw the potential immediately, And now, the swimming pigs have become synonymous with the destination, in many respects.”

Meanwhile, as the original When Pigs Swim™ begins its ascent to three million views,  a new film is in the works. With the title still to be announced, this movie, more than an hour long, will do a deep dive not only into the origins of the swimming pigs, but also their amazing ascent in popularity beginning in late 2014.

“I want this sequel to really tell the whole story,” said Smith, who was the host and founded Electric Air years ago in  Nassau.2018-01-09 11.51.04

Its debut this October will coincide with the release of the much-anticipated book Pigs of Paradise: The Story of the World-Famous Swimming Pigs, distributed by Skyhorse Publishing in New York. Author Jeff Todd (pen name T.R.Todd) will travel to Staniel Cay on August 31st for a book launch in collaboration with Impulse Yacht and Staniel Cay Yacht Club, where the first preview editions will be unveiled to guests.

Smith will also screen a 10-minte preview of the new movie. So while it might be hard to imagine, the swimming pigs may not have quite reached their peak in popularity. The best is yet to come.

022

Jeff Todd, GIV Director of Communications and author of ‘Pigs of Paradise’

“The swimming pigs capture the imagination,” Todd said.

“It has really become more than an attraction. The book looks at these pigs as animals, in all of their cultural complexity. I truly believe it would not have caught on the way it did if it was an island full of chickens. What is it about the pig and those crystal clear waters? I think the swimming pigs present an opportunity to challenge how we think about pigs, but also animals in general, and how we think about them. It allows us to look at something in a completely new way.”

Canada and Bahamas unite at Fusion Gala

GIV Bahamas Inc. serves as sponsor for evening filled with food, music and friendship 

Canada and The Bahamas “mixed up like peas n rice”, as the Bahamian saying goes, at the Fusion Gala this month, an event that celebrated the special and long-standing relationship between the two nations. Seating chart

In particular, The Bahamas commemorated a milestone – 45 years since it achieved independence. GIV Bahamas Inc, comprised of real estate, hospitality, marketing and philanthropic interests, represented the “Exuma” table at the gala and served as an Emerald Sponsor.

“The Bahamas is a dynamic country with so many opportunities on the horizon,” said Jeff Todd, Director of Communications at GIV Bahamas Inc. “From my early days with the Nassau Guardian, to my many years of involvement in Exuma, I have always been honoured to have a front-row seat to this Bahamian story. The Canadian connection to The Bahamas runs deep and GIV Bahamas Inc is excited to be a part of it.

The gala, held at the Delta Chelsea in downtown Toronto, was organized by the National Association of Bahamians in Canada (N-ABC), a registered non-profit that supports the Bahamian community in Canada.

Established in the early 1980s, this organization has played an important role in fundraising, advancing the education of Bahamians and preserving Bahamian culture for those living abroad. His Excellency Alvin Smith, the High Commissioner of The Bahamas, along with Paul Lewis, the President of N-ABC, delivered remarks to the 250-person plus crowd.

“As we embrace the opportunities and challenges of the present, the Association is well poised for growth across the pillars of membership engagement and delivering on our philanthropic agenda centered on educational sponsorships and disaster resiliency support,” said Lewis, who has lived and worked in Canada for decades. “We value the participation and contribution of each individual and organization to our efforts and are indeed very thankful.” Performance

During the High Commissioner’s address, he made special mention of Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc., as an example of how Canadians and Bahamians can work together towards national development in The Bahamas.

Specifically, he pointed out how Tyrone Munroe, who was born on Little Farmer’s Cay in Exuma, Bahamas, met Nicholson well over a decade ago in Ottawa. Munroe had been living in Canada for more than 30 years and raised a family there. But from that meeting onwards, Nicholson and Munroe formed a friendship and business relationship that formed the basis of GIV Bahamas Inc., a company that owns the largest number of villas at Grand Isle Resort.

Like N-ABC, GIV Bahamas Inc. remains committed to giving back to Bahamians both in Canada and abroad through the Exuma Foundation of Canada, which organizes community events and makes substantial donations in the areas of health and education. Nicholson also hosts parties in Canada that help bring Canadians the Bahamians together. IMG_6563

Other highlights of the evening included performances by the Fine Arts Institute from Grand Bahama, and several speeches by special award winners, including Eric Minns, Violet Farquharson-Lambert, John Zonicle and Lawrence “Beauford” Taylor. All of these individuals were honoured for their commitment to the N-ABC and contributions to the Bahamian community.

“I want to congratulate The Bahamas on its 45 years of independence,” Nicholson said. “The Bahamas, and especially Exuma, is a special place for my whole family. Thank you to High Commission Smith and all of our friends of The Bahamas for always making Canadians feel so welcome.”

Intl. race directors join Run for Pompey board

Senior racing executives from New York, Chicago and Miami, with a love for Exuma, lend expertise to this year’s Exuma Marathon

A new advisory council featuring race directors from three major American cities is seeking to take the Exuma Marathon to the next level.

Doug Flannery, a Director of Operations at the Boston Marathon, has recently accepted a position as Senior Director of Operations at the New York City Marathon, which boasts more than 50,000 participants every year.

Doug Flannery

Doug Flannery

Although this position involves the bright lights of ‘The Big Apple’, Flannery, along with his wife Lacie, have a soft spot for the calm, beautiful, less commercial feel of the Exumas. This running power couple decided to join the advisory council after falling in love with the island many years ago. 

“The first time [I came to Exuma] was 2011 and we stayed at the Grand Isle Resort. It was the quintessential kind of place to unplug, with the nicest scenery and a wonderful community of people,” said Lacie Flannery, who is the Race Director of the International Chicago 5K (kilometer), which attracts thousands of runners worldwide. “I want other people to see how special the island is, too.”

So when the Flannerys discovered Exuma Marathon, featuring the Run for Pompey, they saw an immediate opportunity to promote the island they love, while putting their unique skills and network to work.

Lacie Headshot

Lacie Flannery

In addition to Lacie and Doug Flannery, the new Exuma Marathon Advisory Council features Frankie Ruiz, the founder of the Miami Marathon, who also won the event’s half marathon  in its first year. Co-founders Jeff Todd and Kevin Taylor are also members, and last but not least is Pauline Davis-Thompson, one of The Bahamas’ original Golden Girls, who will return as an event honored patron for a fourth consecutive year.  

The Exuma Marathon, featuring the Run for Pompey, is scheduled to take place on November 10. It is once again inviting runners from all around the world to experience some of the best water and beaches in the world. The event has rapidly become one of the most anticipated events on the island’s tourism calendar, with races for all ages and abilities, including everything from a 2K “fun run” around George Town, to the incredible 50K “Run for Pompey” ultra-marathon.

Exuma Marathon pays homage to Pompey, the slave who in 1830 led a rebellion on Exuma when the plantation owner tried to transfer 77 slaves to another island, separating women and children from their families, not unlike the drama that is unfolding even today in the  United States.

Frankie Ruiz

Frankie Ruiz

The event also gives back each year by awarding the Pompey Scholarship so a deserving student from Exuma can attend college or university each year. Earlier this month, Devonte Ferguson received USD$5,000 from the Exuma Foundation of Canada. She will be attending Holland College in Prince Edward Island, Canada, this coming fall.

With a unique mix of history, culture and the usual sun, sand and sea, Lacie Flannery believes this event, and Exuma, are well positioned to grow in the future. 

“I think anytime you can involve locals that have such a passion for their community and the events , with runners coming from all around the world to experience that, you have a winning combination,” Lacie Flannery said. “People who are runners and enjoy traveling for it, want to get back to the roots of running along with experiencing a different culture and place . They want to run somewhere that means something. That’s why this event has the opportunity to do special things.”

She also noted that more families are now running together, rather than just individuals, as they seek a healthier lifestyle. The term “run-cation” is now common among tourists – combining a race weekend with a holiday.

“Runners are definitely seeking an experience, and Exuma has that in spades,” said her husband, Doug Flannery. “I think the Exuma Marathon has an opportunity to grow and really offer something unique to the tourism market.”  

Pauline Davis-Thompson

Pauline Davis-Thompson

Exuma Marathon benefits from an array of sponsors. 

It is led by its title sponsor BAF Financial & Insurance, and also supported by GIV Bahamas Inc.; Aliv; The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism; Sands Beer; Caribbean Bottling Company; Grand Isle Resort; Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill; the Swimming Pig; Cash N’ Go; SuperClubs Breezes; BahamasLocal.com; Bahamas Watch Exchange; Glinton, Sweeting & O’Brien; and Diane Phillips & Associates.

To learn more about the Exuma Marathon and sign up for November 10, interested persons can visit the website www.runforpompey.com.

Consider returning home

 The Bahamas High Commission of Canada and Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc.; co-host more than 60 Bahamians and Canadians in Ottawa at special homecoming event, announce new immigration program

More than a decade ago, Keerhan Mullings traded the warm tropical breeze of Grand Bahama for the chilly, fierce winds of Thunder Bay, Canada.

One of his first memories was the electrical plugs in the parking lot. It took him a moment to realize that, in this northern Ontario city, it gets so cold that residents need to plug-in their cars so the motors won’t freeze. High Commissioner

Even so, Mullings did not dwell on the weather. Instead, he was focused on his dreams of becoming a civil engineer and project manager.

That dream came full circle earlier this month, when Mullings, now 34, attended a special gathering in Ottawa, co-hosted by The Bahamas High Commission of Canada and long-time Exuma investor Peter Nicholson. While the evening offered many of the familiar tastes and sounds of The Bahamas, there was something new about the event’s message to Bahamians: come back home.

“When I was  first invited I thought it would be similar to other Bahamas events I’ve attended before,” Mullings said, who arrived in Ottawa from  Edmonton, Alberta, just three months ago. “What I got from it was a lot more, especially in my professional background, with me looking to bring my skills back home. I have been trying to find a way to do that for many years, while I am still young. So it was an enlightening opportunity.”

Over the last 10 years, Mullings had the opportunity to earn his engineering degree and work for major construction companies in multiple Canadian cities. He also met his wife, a pediatric dentist, and they welcomed their first child, a daughter, about one year ago. Food

But while his connection with Canada runs deep, The Bahamas remains close to his heart.

His Excellency Mr. Alvin Smith, the Bahamas High Commissioner for Canada, joined forces with Nicholson on March 3 to encourage Bahamians like Mullings apply their skills and experience back home. Mingling among the Bahamians was also a sprinkling of current and potential investors in Exuma and The Bahamas.

“The Bahamas and Canada have shared a very special relationship that dates back more than 100 years,” said High Commissioner Alvin  Smith.  “It was truly remarkable to see so many Bahamians and Canadians come together in friendship.  In The Bahamas, we have so many opportunities to grow the economy.  I think this event is very symbolic on how we can come together to meet this potential.”

He continued: “Canadians have been integral in the growth and development of our tourist industry through hotel ownership, large number of Canadian tourists and the expanding number of Canadian second home owners. Now is a great time to invest in The Bahamas.  Our Government, cognizant of the challenges and many complaints made by the difficulty of doing business in The Bahamas, is addressing the concerns of the investors and the potential investors.”Keerhan

High Commissioner referred to the 15th Annual International Business and Finance Summit held in Nassau on Thursday, March 1st where the Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration, Hon. Brent Symonette, shared with the attendees the steps government has taken and continue to review, revise, amend and create laws that make doing business in The Bahamas for Bahamians and International persons easier.

It was a message echoed by the High Commissioner during this official speech at the Ottawa event last week.

In addition to plenty of Bahamian food, drink and music, the more than 60 attendees learned about employment and investment opportunities in The Bahamas, and in particular Exuma, where Nicholson has been investing for over 12 years.

Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc., is the largest owner at Grand Isle Resort, a luxurious community on Emerald Bay in Great Exuma. The company is also comprised of other hospitality, real estate and marketing interests in Exuma. One of the company’s biggest successes has been the marketing campaign of the swimming pigs, which has since exploded to become a global phenomenon and significant economic driver for the island.

In his remarks, Nicholson told the story of his first Bahamian business partner, Tyrone Munroe, who had lived in Ottawa for decades after leaving his home of Little Farmer’s Cay in Exuma. The two entrepreneurs joined forces over 12 years ago, after Tyrone decided to go back home.

“Tyrone could have very well been a young man in this room today,” he told the crowd.Crowd

“We want to encourage the Bahamian diaspora to consider returning home. Exuma is growing. We have jobs to fill and businesses to create. We want to start a movement of reverse immigration, where Bahamians can rediscover the beauty and opportunities of home.”

Nicholson added that GIV Bahamas Inc. is looking to host similar events with the Bahamas High Commission of Canada in other Canadians cities, such as Toronto and Halifax, and even perhaps take the message south of the border into the United States.

For Mulling’s part, he feels that the experience he gained in Canada will pay dividends if he returns to The Bahamas. He encourages other Bahamians to consider a similar path.

“I think it is the best thing to do,” he said.  “It opens up your mind. It opens up your bubble and allows you to look inside that bubble. This insight can go across every professional field. It allows you to be better equipped to solve problems and excel in the workplace.”

GIV Bahamas teams up with PGA Pro for charity

Yacht party at Palm Beach Boat Show auctions off villa at Grand Isle Resort to raise funds for muscular dystrophy

IYC PBIBS - DSC_7702

From left: Claudette Pagano, PGA pro Morgan Hoffmann and his fiancé, Chelsea Coulard

GIV Bahamas Inc. joined forces with the International Yacht Collection and Yachts International at the Palm Beach Boat show this month for a special VIP party to raise funds for an even more special cause.

The private yacht party included over 150 guests and featured several PGA Tour players such as Derek Fathauer, Bud Cauley and Jamie Lovemark. But the night belonged to PGA Pro Morgan Hoffmann, who recently announced that he has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, an incurable disease.

After establishing the Morgan Hoffmann Foundation, and receiving an outpouring of support, he continues to work with charities and raise funds so people living with the disease can have a better life.

 

GIV Bahamas, the largest owner of villas at Grand Isle Resort in Exuma, Bahamas, was pleased to donate a free stay at the property to help earn thousands of  dollars for his foundation.

“This event presented a special opportunity to support Morgan Hoffmann and his cause,” said Claudette Pagano, a representative for GIV Bahamas Inc. “Meanwhile, I think the attendees had a great time at this boat show learning about Exuma and sharing their plans for the summer. We look forward to welcoming them and sharing our piece of paradise with these future guests.” IYC PBIBS - DSC_7541

In addition to having the marquee prize at the charity auction, GIV Bahamas was given a booth to showcase Grand Isle Resort and the archipelago of Exuma. The resort and second home community not only benefits from a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course and world-class beach, but also a mega yacht marina, located right in its backyard. The Emerald Bay Marina is the largest, full service facility in Exuma, which has long been a coveted yachting destination due to its hundreds of islands and famously blue waters.

Meanwhile, the golf course surrounding Grand Isle is the venue for the annual Great Exuma Classic, the first event on the Web.com Tour every January. IYC PBIBS - DSC_7623

Exuma has seen a marked increase in yachting traffic in late 2017 and early 2018 due to the passage of hurricanes last year, which hit destinations such as St. Barths and St. Maarten. Exuma, by contrast, was spared any significant damage.

The Palm Beach Boat Show is one of the top five largest shows in the US, boasting more than $1.2 billion worth of boats, yachts and accessories from leading marine manufacturers.

Exuma booming in 22% arrival increase

The Minister of Tourism releases new report detailing rise of Family Island destinations

For anyone visiting Exuma these days, it does not take long to appreciate a very basic truth – it’s busy.

Of course, Exuma is not, nor will it ever be, “Nassau busy”. Instead, there is an energy on the island as just the right number of tourists seem to be discovering what many consider to be the beautiful place in the world.IMG_5843

This feeling was confirmed in March when the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism announced that Exuma experienced an increase of 21.7 percent in visitor arrivals for 2017.

“Two hundred and fifty thousand foreign visitors flew into the Family Islands in 2017,” said Dionisio D.Aguilar, the Minister of Tourism. “285,000 flew into the Family Islands in 2017. And Mr. Speaker, we’re expecting the number of foreign visitors flying into the Family Islands to exceed 300,000 for the very first time in the history of this country in 2018.”

Of course, the lion’s share of visitors still visit Nassau and Paradise Island. But interestingly, the pendulum has begun to more often swing to destinations such as Exuma, as tourists seek unique experiences and untouched beauty over the big crowds.

And there is every reason to believe Mr. Aguilar’s strong prediction for the future. UKFyMgbSG61PkihST0Ga_Exumas-Paradise-Island-1600x900

At Grand Isle Resort, this manicured, gated community is busier than any time in its history, posting nearly 100% occupancy for the months of February, March and April. Golf carts buzz between the luxury villas and Emerald Bay Beach. Tour operators are kept busy by the constant flow of guests heading out on boats to visit the world famous swimming pigs, among the many other attractions out in the cays.

This energy at the resort is only accentuated by the ongoing construction of the ’23 North’, the community’s much anticipated new Beach Club. Expected to open this fall, the club will feature a new second dining venue, infinity pool and special events venue, all spilling out onto a pristine, one-mile-long horseshoe beach.

“The future is right for Exuma and Grand Isle,” said Peter Nicholson, President of GIV Bahamas Inc. “The Minister’s statistics only confirm what we already know – Exuma is growing. I was fortunate to spend March Break there with my family. The resort looks great and Exuma has a buzz about it.”

Beyond Grand Isle’s gates, you can see construction underway for various second homes. The historic Peace & Plenty, which recently came under new ownership, has opened its doors after an extensive renovation. And of course, the much-anticipated Atabey, a high-end island retreat slated to break ground this year, continues to rouse excitement and curiosity. 2018-01-09 12.01.14

According to the Minister’s report, Exuma outpaced arrival growth compared to most other destinations in The Bahamas. Abaco arrivals rose 10.4 percent. Eleuthera increased by 24.4 percent.

D’Aguilar said the general increase in arrivals for the Family Islands was also due, in part, to a high repeat visitor rate of 66 percent, and further anchored by a strong and loyal second home market.

You can read the Minister’s full report in the Nassau Guardian: https://thenassauguardian.com/2018/03/15/family-islands-on-path-to-set-visitor-arrivals-record/