GIV Bahamas News
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
Yacht party at Palm Beach Boat Show auctions off villa at Grand Isle Resort to raise funds for muscular dystrophy
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
Tour De Turquoise 2018 raises nearly US$20K and honours Cameron Williams, who died in tragic sailing accident last December
Hearts were heavier this year for the Tour De Turquoise, an annual cycling event that has raised over $100K for the island and celebrates the community’s youth.
As philanthropists rode side by side with students from the local high school in Exuma, all 70km on a sun-kissed Saturday morning, there was one young man on their minds.
Cameron Williams, 16, died last December in a tragic sailing accident, an incident that shocked and saddened this small, close knit community. On an island like Exuma, with a population of just 5,000, Cameron’s loss was a major blow, particularly for some of his closest friends.
“Cameron was in my class. We grew up together,” said Keivardo Taylor, also 16, who rode the full 70km from Regatta Park in downtown George Town to Santana’s, and back. “We used to sail, run track, play ball, ride cycles, like we did today. I was riding for two today.”
The emotion of the day was not lost on Howard Chang, the event’s founder.
As Cameron came forward to receive his medal, Howard draped two around Keivardo’s neck – one of him, and one for his friend.
“In addition to being a great sailor, Cameron also loved cycling,” Chang said.
“He wanted to develop his cycling skills and even compete. In his honour, our goal is to continue developing the first generation of competitive cyclists from Exuma. That spirit will live on in Exumians like Keivardo.”
That was the final moment of Tour De Turquoise 2018, which this year raised nearly US$20,000 for the Exuma Foundation of Canada. The 4th annual ride, on February 10, was once again a resounding success for both the locals that have embraced cycling and the philanthropists that return year after year to give back.
For several magical days, donors from both Canada and the United States took in Exuma’s famously blue waters, pristine beaches and unique character. Guests can explore the island’s many nooks and crannies, or hop on a boat and cruise up the Exuma Cays, seeing the giant iguanas, sandbars, celebrity islands and the world famous swimming pigs.
But apart from the relaxation and cycling, what makes the event special is its genuine impact on the local community.
Since its inception, funds from the Tour De Turquoise has generated well over US$100,000 for Exuma. These charitable dollars have gone towards many worthy initiatives, such as the purchase of a hospital bus, the construction of an upcoming children’s shelter and the creation of the first Exuma Cycling Club at L N Coakley High School. Last year, the Foundation invested in a “clubhouse” at L N Coakley to house an inventory of bikes for the students. The next step, according to Chang, is to invest in education and training so these young athletes can reach the next level.
“These kids have a clear enthusiasm and thirst to learn,” he added.
“Our job is to give them the tools to be successful and encourage leadership within the community. Cycling is a wonderful pastime that promotes healthy living, focus and a sense of community. And for us, as philanthropists, cycling is a mechanism to give back to Exuma. Even small contributions to this island can make huge impact on the lives of the people here.”
Sponsors of the ride included Dilly Crab Ranch, Grand Isle Resort, GIV Bahamas Inc. and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
Family Office Experiences (FOE), which hosts retreats and conferences for an elite clientele, led a group of athletes and executives for five-day event in Exuma
In Minnesota, with record cold temperatures outside, thousands of fans scurried into the stadium in February to take in Super Bowl LII. Meanwhile, less than 2,000 miles south, on the idyllic island of Exuma, a much smaller gathering took in the big game, relaxing by the infinity pool in style.
Grand Isle Resort played host to an exclusive group of NFL players and other VIPs earlier this month in collaboration with Family Office Experiences, a company that specializes in events and conferences for an elite clientele at some of the most stunning places on Earth.
Grand Isle Resort, one of Exuma’s high-end offerings, including 78 luxury homes with all the resort trimmings, served as the sunny backdrop for this special event.
“The Family Office & Sports Experience – Bahamas Edition, was an alternative Super Bowl Experience for the Family office, finance and professional athlete worlds,” said Christopher Quincy Cobbinah, CEO of Family Office Experiences (FOE). “Escaping the below zero temperatures of Minnesota for Grand Isle paradise on the stunning islands of Exuma was truly amazing. Think turquoise blue oceans, warm sea breezes and white sands.”
Attendees to the exclusive event included a number of high-profile representatives from international family offices, along with an impressive list of current NFL players, such as Cam Johnson of the Cleveland Browns, Gerald Everett of the LA Rams, Joseph Barksdale of the LA Chargers, DJ Haden of the Detroit Lions and Phil Taylor of the Washington Redskins.
The entourage was joined by local government and business figures, including former ambassador Dr. Eugene G. Newry, and Emmett Saunders, Exuma Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation.
The event itself comprised an eclectic mix of leisure, business and even community service.
An all-White Beach Dinner party and a cruise up the spectacular Exuma cays were some of the leisurely highlights, culminating a Super Bowl party at Grand Isle Resort as guests watched the action-packed game. The Philadelphia Eagles managed the upset against the New England Patriots with a final score of 41-33. It is the first NFL championship for the city of Philadelphia.
A group of NFL players even took the time to visit the local high schools on Exuma, taking photos with the students and offering some motivational remarks. There were also times when the retreat got down to business.
“Our office specializes in ‘must attend’ events for those looking to build trusted relationships,” Cobbinah added.
“The experiences are designed to foster the development of relationships with other successful, like-minded people. Guests met in private, collaborative, ‘non-sales’ environments to share investment intelligence, experiences, opportunities and to increase their sphere of influence.”
There is perhaps no better place on the planet more suited to such a retreat as Exuma.
With its 365 stunning islands and cays, more than half of all islands found in The Bahamas, Exuma and its multi-hued blue waters has long been a preferred destination for elite travel. With new projects in the pipeline and the ongoing worldwide popularity of the swimming pigs, it has also been identified as a major growth market for the country going forward.
Grand Isle Resort, with its luxurious homes and resort amenities, including a fitness center, infinity pool, a mile-long horseshoe beach, activities hut and a full-service spa, concierge and restaurant, has emerged as the perfect, intimate setting for events like FOE.
The resort is the second largest employer on Exuma and has logged record year-on-year occupancy levels for the past few years.
“FOE is exactly the kind of clientele that fits perfectly with the Grand Isle lifestyle,” said Peter Nicholson, an investor and owner at Grand Isle. “Grand Isle will continue to be hive of activity as the destination
grows. Hosting FOE was a pleasure and we look forward to welcoming them back soon.”
Family Office Experiences expressed delight with the retreat. Another event is already in the works for this spring for NBA players after their season ends.
The Bahamas is the only country with two beaches in the top five for USA Today’s 2018 Best Caribbean Beach category
In an island chain with thousands of pristine beaches, where you can still sink your toes into sand that has never been touched before, it is hard to pick just one.
Nevertheless, USA Today took a shot at it for their Reader’s Choice 2018 Awards.
The famed Tropic of Cancer Beach, located in Little Exuma, which has the actual Tropic of Cancer line of latitude cutting through it, came in fourth place in the Best Caribbean Beach category. The Bahamas was the only country with two beaches in the top five, with Eleuthera’s Pink Sand Beach also receiving high praise.
The award was a special honour for Exuma, which has long been called a boater’s paradise for the beauty of its waters, protection of its leeward coves and variety of its marine life. Of course, the archipelago’s beaches are also an enormous part of its geography.
The island chain spans a whopping 209km (130 miles), offering countless options on beaches, many of which are little known to the general public.
“Exuma is full of hidden gems,” said Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc.
“I have traveled up and down these islands hundreds of times, and each time, I could visit a different beach and still not see them all. Exuma is a rare gorgeous, wilderness that is still being discovered.”
You can view of the full “Top 10” list of beaches here.
Tropic of Cancer Beach is in Little Exuma, located near the southern tip of the main island of Great Exuma. Appropriately a 40 minute drive from Grand Isle’s gates, the beach has been a pilgrimage of sorts for those visiting the island, and a place where tourists keep returning.
“In a world of high speed internet, fast-paced lives and constant search for quick solutions, Tropic of Cancer beach is an oasis. Its broad, soft white sand against turquoise seas is a quiet, untouched piece of Exuma magic,” said Everett Hart, spokesman for One Exuma Association.
The One Exuma Association, formed in 2017, is a network of hoteliers, attraction operators, local government, transportation operators and key stakeholders committed to lend expertise and support to ensure Exuma’s sustainable development.
“Tropic of Cancer beach is not easily accessible,” he added. “It is called the longest beach in Exuma. But getting to it is not easy, it is a long ways down an unpaved road so the fact that the experts narrowed the list down to 20 and with images online and those who experienced it voting, amassing enough votes to end up as number 4 of all the thousands of beaches in the Caribbean, speaks volumes.”
Other beaches that qualified for the 10 Best list in the Caribbean included three in Anguilla, two in Turks and Caicos, one each in Aruba and Curacao with Grand Anse Beach in Grenada coming in first place just ahead of Harbour Island. Tropic of Cancer Beach came in fourth.
Original crew of ‘When Pigs Swim™’ visits Staniel Cay and Great Exuma for several days of shooting for new full-length movie, to be released in fall 2018 in tandem with a book on the famed attraction
The original crew of the award winning film ‘When Pigs Swim™’ reassembled this month to film a full-length sequel that will delve even deeper into a phenomenon that has caught the imagination of people from all around the world.
Produced by Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc., the sequel to ‘When Pigs Swim™’ will pick up where the last film left off. While the first movie served as a kind of “coming out party” for the swimming pigs, this installment will offer an in-depth history of their origins in Exuma and chronicle their remarkable rise to stardom since the original film was released in September 2014.
“The swimming pigs have changed the game in Exuma,” said Nicholson, who is the largest owner of villas at Grand Isle Resort.
“Evidence shows that more than half of the people now coming to Exuma got here because they heard about the pigs. Of course, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world, so people might find out about us because of the pigs, but what they discover is a world-class string of islands just on the doorstep of North America.”
The film will be once again directed by celebrated Bahamian filmmaker Charlie Smith, who first made a name for himself in The Bahamas when we created and co-hosted the show ‘Electric Air’. The show featured music videos and interviews with A-list celebrities when they visited The Bahamas, including Lenny Kravatz, Beyonce, Puff Daddy and OJ Simpson.
Jeff Todd, Director of Communications for GIV Bahamas, will write the screenplay for the sequel. Todd, who writes under the pen name T.R. Todd, is also releasing a book about the swimming pigs in fall 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing out of New York City. It is envisioned that the film, which will be more than an hour long, will be released around the same time as the book.
Skyhorse Publishing, founded in 2006, is a rapidly growing publishing company with more than 1,000 titles.
It has published the works for four Nobel Prize novelists, and released around 50 New York Times Best Sellers. In 2015, Skyhorse published ‘The Walk’. By Phillippe Petit, about his daring walk between the NYC World Trade Center Towers, based on the motion picture directed by Robert Zemeckis. In September 2016, it released Snowden, based on the notorious American whistleblower, which was timed with the release of Oliver Stone’s feature film that year.
For the latest film on the pigs, the crew began filming in early January on Staniel Cay, the famed island located close to the original site of the swimming pigs.
The crew interviewed many of the locals on the island and gained unprecedented access to the history on how this attraction developed, as well as how the swimming pigs have changed amid the worldwide fame. After three days of shooting, Smith, Todd and the cameramen headed to the main island of Great Exuma and stayed at Grand Isle Resort to do additional interviews.
Smith is expected to return to Exuma soon to continue shooting, while also doing a series of interviews in Nassau and the United States.
“We want to show audiences not only how they got on the island, but also the impact it has had on the whole Bahamas,” said Smith. “It is a fun story with incredible visuals. The topic is so original. I think the first film was just an appetizer – this one will be the main course.”
Following the release of the original film in 2014, ‘When Pigs Swim™’ embarked on a film festival tour in The Bahamas and the United States in collaboration with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. It was then that the swimming pigs began to pop up on billboards, hotel websites and official marketing materials for the country. Over the last three years, the attraction has exploded with coverage in most major newspapers and magazines, including spots on popular reality shows, sitcoms, late night talk shows and children’s programs.
At least four additional pig colonies have emerged in The Bahamas in the last few years so tourists visiting from across the country can see the swimming pigs. Tour operators report significant numbers of tourists from all over the world, such as China, Japan, Russia and all over Europe.
“The swimming pigs are global,” said Nicholson. “I think this film will now tell the whole story and really finish the job we started with the first film.”
Estate of June & Max Arnold makes generous donation to Exuma Foundation of Canada, with fond memories of their ‘second family’
It is often said that a place is not defined by its weather, the restaurants, the buildings or its attractions.
It is the people that matter.
While Exuma might be arguably the most beautiful place in the world, an unspoiled paradise, it is the people that kept June and Max Arnold coming back from th
eir island – in Newfoundland – for more than two decades. And it is the people that inspired them to put this island in their will and make a generous donation to the Exuma Foundation of Canada upon Max’s passing in May of last year.
“My parents had a lot of dear friends down there,” said Dr. Tracey Scott, one of two daughters, who sent the Exuma Foundation of Canada the cheque on behalf of their estate. “We think of them as our second family. We have been down to Exuma many times with mom and dad over the years. I think the one thing that really touched their hearts are the children. It is amazing on a small island. Mom often talked about the kids down there.”
In particular, June and Max were impressed by the full-time school for children with mental disabilities, run directly out of the Exuma Foundation campus on Great Exuma. The school continues to operate to this day, providing a safe place to learn and interact for children of all ages.
June and Max, the owners of Dawe’s Mechanical (1981) Ltd, in Newfoundland, first starting visiting the island in the late 80s. Tracey and her sister, Kelly Arnold, cannot recall how they discovered Exuma, which back then would have been far less developed and known compared to today.
The family stayed at the Minns Cottages, just outside George Town. Tracey said the Minns were always considered “our second family”.
It was love at first sight for June and Max, in Exuma. Apart from the spectacular beauty, she said that, coming from Newfoundland, there is a certain intimacy and authenticity about the people. They quickly related to the challenges and nuances of island life, and the impact it had on the culture.
“In the end, I think it was just the friendly people. Island people, I mean,” she explained.
“Everyone knows everybody. Somebody gets in trouble, they help you out. There are no strangers like in the city, That is the culture in Exuma.”
In carrying on this legacy, the Exuma Foundation of Canada will use their generous gift to continue its mission of uplifting youth on the island. In just a few short years, the registered foundation, which can issue tax receipts to Canadians, has provided scholarship to students, helped purchase a hospital bus for the island, re-built the local basketball court, and established a cycling club at the local high school to encourage health and wellness.
For American donors the Ohio based Exuma Foundation of America can issue tax receipts for American tax payers.
Next month, the third annual Tour de Turquoise will kick off on Exuma, inviting philanthropists from abroad to ride side by side with children on the island, all to raise funds for initiatives that will have an impact on their lives.
“It is a special experience to see the impact you can have on this island,” said Howard Chang, the founder of the ride. “The people are indeed special, and you can really see the impact on your donations or volunteerism. Even if you aren’t a cyclist, I encourage people to come out and get involved.”
To learn more about the ride, click here.
GIV Bahamas Inc serves as official sponsor of tournament, as guests enjoy a week of golf, parties and relaxation at Grand Isle Resort
For the second straight year, stunning Emerald Bay played host to a major tournament on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) circuit, attracting players, spectators and millions of others watching on television screens around the world.
The Great Exuma Classic has become an annual tradition for Exuma. It is now the first tournament of the year of the Web.com Tour, as golfers young and old battle it out to earn a PGA Tour Card and join the big dance. The Emerald Reef Golf Course, designed by Greg Norman, proved once again to be a world-class test for these pros
In the end, it was Sungjae Im, from South Korea, who posted a final round 65 to secure the title.
The win should go a long way for Im to secure his spot on the PGA Tour. Last year, Great Exuma Classic winner Kyle Thompson joined the tour shortly after his win in Exuma.
“It was truly another wonderful tournament here in Exuma,” said Catherine Clifton, tournament director for the Great Exuma Classic. “The area is so beautiful and the people so welcoming. I especially want to thank our sponsors, including GIV Bahamas Inc. and Grand Isle Resort, for their ongoing support. We look forward to coming back next year.”
Other sponsors of the tournament included Sandals Emerald Bay, The Islands of The Bahamas, Delta, the Web.com Tour, The Golf Channel, Professional Sports Partners and Cross Sports & Entertainment Group. The action was televised on NBC’s The Golf Channel throughout the week, reaching many countries and millions of viewers worldwide.
As an official sponsor of the tournament, GIV Bahamas Inc. fielded two Pro Am Teams on Jan 12, providing the golfers and their friends with exclusive access and amenities to the weeklong festivities.
Indeed, in addition to the fantastic golf, Grand Isle Resort and Sandals Emerald Bay became hives of social activity for the week.
With Grand Isle in the centre of the golf course, guests were able to follow along and watch the action, while many of the special guests playing in the Pro Am Tournament attended evening parties with food, drinks and entertainment.
Norman himself could be seen socializing at cocktail parties by night and providing personalized instruction to golfers by day.
In the end, it is one of GIV Bahamas’ Pro Am teams, led by legendary NHL goalie Grant Fuhr, that won the Pro Am Tournament. He was joined by golfers Russell Elkan, Howard Chatoff and Loretta Chatoff.
“It is always special when my wife and I get a chance to stay at Grand Isle. Definitely, being here for the golf tournament made it even more special,” said Fuhr, who won five Stanley Cups in his storied career. “The course is amazing, a true test of golf, and as always we love the island of Exuma and the accommodations at Grand Isle.”
Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc., hosted a cocktail party in the four-bedroom penthouse at Grand Isle on the final night of the tournament for players, guests and staff, to cap off an incredible week of activity at the resort.
“Exuma and Grand Isle are always beautiful, but events like this are great because it brings everyone together,” he said. “I want to thank the organizers of the tournament and everyone who helped bring it together. I can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
Luxury resort commands dominant presence in lounges and at exclusive soirees; Exuma unscathed by hurricanes and open for yachting business
Grand Isle Resort and the island of Exuma stole the show at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show earlier this month, as many other yachting destinations in the Caribbean struggle to get back on their feet.
Often referred to as the “Yachting Capital of the World”, and the largest show of its kind, the 59th annual show, running from Nov 1 to Nov 5, offered widespread coverage to Grand Isle Resort in some of the event’s most exclusive lounges and parties. The top luxurious resort and second-home community in Exuma had a presence at both the Aim Media Pavilion and the Winward Club Pavillon.
Representatives of the resort mingled with thousands of yachting and boating enthusiasts, while offering a classic Bahamian cocktail, the Goombay Smash.
In the evenings, Grand Isle took part in exclusive, invite-only parties, including the VIP Superyacht Soiree on Nov 3. Presented by Ocean Independent and DAMEN, dockside at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, guests received the red carpet treatment upon arrival, with Grand Isle offering a beautiful booth at the event’s entrance.
“This year it was exciting for Grand Isle and Exuma to have such a significant presence at the show,” said Claudette Pagano, a representative for GIV Bahamas Inc.
“We were fortunate to remain unaffected by recent hurricane and continue to provide a first class destination to tourists, investors, motor yacht, boat and plane owners. Exuma was quite the buzz at the show. Everyone is looking forward to an exciting season.”
The show was especially timely given the devastation of Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey. While each hurricane impacted many different destinations in a variety of ways, a handful of popular yachting destinations in the Caribbean, such as St. Barts and St. Maarten, were greatly impacted by the storms.
With this in mind, yacht owners and yacht charters are seeking alternate destinations for the season, such as Exuma, which was completely untouched by the devastation.
Exuma, with its 365 islands and famously clear and blue water, is already a popular and world-class yachting destination. While unfortunate for those impacted by the storm, recent hurricanes have provided an opportunity for a new generation of boaters to discover the unparalleled beauty of the Exumas for the first time.
Grand Isle is also unique due to its very close proximity to Emerald Bay Marina, a mega yacht facility just outside the resort and second-home community’s gates.
The opportunity to capture new business was not lost on other tourism stakeholders. Exuma was indeed well represented at the show, with other properties in Exuma, such as Peace & Plenty and February Point, also having a presence in the lounges.
“We are definitely expecting more yachting traffic in Exuma this season,” Pagano added.