GIV Bahamas News
Set to premiere on Dec 1st in Nassau, full-length movie, based on the new book, tells the true story behind the global phenomenon
On March 27, 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly embarked on what came to be known as “The Year in Space”.
Chronicled by Time Magazine, Kelly’s record-breaking expedition in the International Space Station was well-known for many reasons, and partly because the American explorer documented the experience so faithfully on social media.
Through his Twitter, Instagram and other channels, he took snaps of the Earth from space in all its remarkable, awe-inspiring beauty. But one sight, against all others, stood out to astronaut Scott Kelly – Exuma, “the most beautiful place from space”.
Little did Scott know that, thousands of miles below, he would soon join forces with fellow social media stars known as the swimming pigs.
With his genuine love for The Bahamas, and in particular the islands of Exuma, Kelly has come on board to narrate a new, full-length film based on the bestselling book, “Pigs of Paradise: The Story of the World-Famous Swimming Pigs”.
Set to premiere on December 1st , as the closing film at the Bahamas International Film Festival, “Pigs of Paradise” will be the cherry on top for the creators of the original film, “When Pigs Swim”.
“When we did the first film, back in 2014, we had no idea what a global phenomenon the swimming pigs would become,” said Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas and Executive Producer of the new film.
“It was much shorter, only about 15 minutes, and made people curious about these animals. So far that video alone has been viewed by more than 2.2 million people. I think the new story is : how did they become so famous? This latest film will look to answer that question, while really delving into the origins of these animals and the impact they’ve had on the whole Bahamas. We thank Scott for taking part in this true labour of love.”
Charlie Smith, of Earthbeat Films, is returning as the director of this second film on the swimming pigs, with Jeff Todd, the Director of Communications at GIV Bahamas Inc., and author of the new book, serving as the screenwriter.
The production crew will be walking the red carpet on December 1st with two piglets in tow. Back in 2014, upon the release for the first film, piglets also walked the red carpet with Smith when it premiered at festivals in Florida, before screening at many other festivals throughout North America.
With the swimming pigs’ global popularity at an all-time high, this full-length feature is expected to make an event bigger splash.
Unlike in 2014, the swimming pigs are now a house-hold name. After appearances on television programs (The Bachelor, Today Show), magazines, newspapers, and countless viral posts on the Internet, these animals helped bring Exuma to the world. From The New York Times, to CNN, to FOX, to Travel & Leisure, to the Toronto Star, the pigs have been featured by most major media outlets in North America, along with many more in countries such as Germany, the UK and Australia.
It is not a stretch to consider the swimming pigs global celebrities.
Today, the swimming pigs are the top tourism attraction for the island and a major source of revenue for tour boat operators, taxi drivers, restaurants, hotels and everything in between. In fact, there are pig colonies on six islands in The Bahamas, including Exuma, Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island, Grand Bahama and Nassau.
In the film, government figures, including Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Minister of Tourism, have estimated that the swimming pigs have generated untold millions to the Bahamian economy.
The film follows shortly after the North American release of the book, also named “Pigs of Paradise”, which has been covered by outlets such as CNN Travel and USA Today. The book can be ordered online here and can be found in major book stores throughout the holiday season
“Pigs of Paradise”, the movie, is expected to continue along the film festival circuit in 2019, before finally being released on DVD and other platforms for the general public. For information on screenings and other news, you can visit the movie’s website at www.pigsofparadise.com
Beneath the Waves and partner Oceanic Global carry out first ever shark tagging mission in Southern Exumas to help preserve and better understand the ocean ecosystem
There are few animals on the planet more misunderstood than the shark.
From an early age, it is common to see these animals cast as menacing meat-eaters, and a threat to unsuspecting humans. But for Austin Gallagher, a biologist and conservationist, with a particular focus on sharks, he sees these animals not as a danger, but rather as a means to better understand our fragile ocean ecosystem.
“Sharks are ecologically and economically important to our oceans, and to The Bahamas,” said Gallagher, who has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals.
“They keep marine ecosystems healthy and tourism flourishing. By tagging them with high-tech electronic tags and monitoring their health, we are shedding new light into the movements and behavior of these misunderstood yet threatened animals, which will provide information for the long-term survivability of the species in this country and a model for other countries to follow.”
This effort took a big step forward this month, when Gallagher and his team were invited by GIV Bahamas Inc to Exuma and Grand Isle Resort to continue their research
Over the course of several days, researchers tagged and released 14 sharks (12 Caribbean Reef Sharks and two tiger sharks) and installed four acoustic receivers.
This technology will monitor the tagged sharks for the next several years. Gallagher plans to return to Exuma in spring 2019 to download the receivers, install new ones and add more sharks to the project.
With more than a decade of dedicated shark research in six different countries, he called the recent trip to Exuma a true “dream expedition”.
“Securing logistics, including accommodations and boat time, are often the most complex and costly parts of planning and executing a research expedition,” he explained, noting that his non-profit relies entirely on private donations to fund research.
“GIV Bahamas Inc. and Grand Isle Resort provided solutions to these challenges during our search shark expedition. Even more incredible were our findings and interactions with the sharks: it is proof that Exuma is a healthy marine ecosystem. Many beautiful sharks keep the oceans clean and balanced. These incredible animals keep the waters wild, beautiful and abundant.”
This expedition, he added, was the first of its kind in the southern Exumas.
The important work of Beneath the Waves is supported by Oceanic Global, an international advocate for the preservation of the seas. The organization seeks to broaden the audience for these issues by connecting with other advocates and influencers in a variety of industries such as the arts, music, fashion, hospitality, technology and more.
James Sternlicht, a board member and director of strategic development, said that in order to protect our world, we must first broaden our understanding.
“Sharks are majestic, mysterious and much maligned – and they are vital to the health of our oceans,” Sternlicht said.
“The research done here is the first of its kind in Great Exuma. And the data we gather over the coming months will allow us to further our understanding of these incredible creatures, so we can better protect them.”
Gallagher explained that The Bahamas project is ongoing over the next three to four years, with the overarching goal is creating a true shark sanctuary and ensuring the preservation of the ecosystem as a whole. Today, in addition to global warming and pollution, sharks are constantly under threat due to commercial fishing.
It is not every day that tourists view sharks as playing a role in the beauty of Exuma’s famously blue and pristine waters and coral reefs. Sharks are also a popular attraction and sight for tourists engaging in snorkeling, scuba diving and even the famous nurse sharks near Staniel Cay and Compass Cay, which guests of Grand Isle Resort often visit on excursions.
“Every so often, I think it is important to take a step back and remember the environment we operate in,” said Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc. “I applaud the work of scientists like Dr. Gallagher. Their insights and vision will help ensure Exuma’s amazing natural environment is sustainable in the future.”
Michelle Gibson and Shavaughn Blades, from Nassau, win the marquee Ultra Marathon, as the event receives high praise from director of New York Marathon
George Town, Exuma — For the first time in its history, the Exuma Marathon was able to announce the two sweetest words for any event in The Bahamas: sold out.
Nearly 250 runners from as far away as Holland and Ireland packed the starting line last Saturday in Exuma, all united in a race that has become a highly anticipated staple in the Bahamian tourism calendar. Not a single shirt or race number was left over, inspiring last-minute runners to simply jump into the crowd, just to participate.
Young and old, tourist and Bahamian, swift runners and slow walkers all set off to pay homage to Pompey, the heroic slave who led a rebellion on the island almost 200 years ago.
“This is a special event,” said Doug Flannery, the Senior Director of Operations of the TCS New York City Marathon, who flew in with a group just to experience it.
“It has a distance for every level of fitness that will challenge even the most seasoned athletes. The community involvement and Exuma hospitality makes this a must-do destination race.
It’s a certainty that the event will again sell out in 2019. We are honored to participate alongside the Exuma Marathon team.”
The New York City Marathon typically attracts around 50,000 runners, making it the largest of its kind in the world.
But it is exactly the community integration, cultural relevance and authenticity of Exuma Marathon that makes this event special in the eyes of tourists. Before the race on Nov 10th, tourists like Flannery took in all the attractions of Exuma, including the now world-famous swimming pigs. Hotels, tour boat operators, taxi drivers and restaurants all benefited from the sold-out event.
Once again, Pauline Davis-Thompson, the two-time Bahamian gold medalist, joined the race to drape a medal around each and every neck that crossed the finish line.
“This is the only event I’ve been involved with where you get to dance at the finish, receive your medal from an Olympic gold medalist and enjoy the warmth of the Bahamian spirit at every turn,” said Lacie Flannery, Event Director at the Advocate health Care International Chicago 5K Race. “Add that to the bluest shades of ocean you’ve ever seen as a backdrop and you have an event that is truly paradise.”
Exuma Marathon features races for all ages, with the most impressive being the Run for Pompey, a grueling 50K race. This year, in striking solidarity, Michelle Gibson and Shavaughn Blades, from Nassau, crossed the finish line together with a time of 6:39:47. Elaine McAunulty, from Ireland, won the full marathon with a time of 5:55:14.
Other races included a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and 2K “George Town Dash”, making the event accessible for young children and older participants. At its core, Exuma Marathon focuses on community engagement and offering an integral, cultural experience for all.
Last Saturday was the 4th installment. Exuma Marathon is completely non-profit, with proceeds from the race going towards the annual Pompey Scholarship, awarded to a student in Exuma each year so he or she can attend college or university. Most recently, Deyonte Ferguson from L N Coakley took home the prize, and she is now attending Holland College in Prince Edward Island in the east coast of Canada.
“There is no doubt that this was our best year yet,” said Kevin Taylor, who founded the race with Jeff Todd, the Director of Communications for GIV Bahamas Inc. “I think the sky is the limit for Exuma Marathon. It is a community effort in every sense of the word, from our volunteers, to the nurses at the hospital, the police officers and countless others that help us put it together.”
The race is supported by its four-time title sponsor BAF Financial & Insurance.
Other sponsors include GIV Bahamas Inc., the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Aliv, Sands Beer, Caribbean Bottling Company, Grand Isle Resort, Peace & Plenty, The Swimming Pig, Catch A Fire, Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill, Glinton, Sweeting O’Brien, BahamasLocal, Breezes, Cash N Go and Diane Phillips and Associates.
Exuma Marathon also partnered with the Bahamas Half, presented by Bahamas Roadmasters, which kicks off from Arawak Cay in Nassau on November 18th at 6am.
The next Exuma Marathon is scheduled for November 9th, 2019.
For more information about the event, you can contact Jeff Todd, Director of Communications at GIV Bahamas Inc., at email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.