The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation (BMOTIA), in collaboration with its Bahamas Ambassadors, organized a flight to Long Island, which went down in history as one of the largest flights to take place in the Outer Islands. The four-day excursion to Cape Santa Maria, Long Island, November 3-6, began with a landing at Stella Maris and included a day trip to Staniel Cay.
Flying for private pilots is the equivalent of a road trip. Throughout the year, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism organizes flight expeditions led by experienced pilots to introduce private pilots to the joys of navigating the Bahamas. The November flyover to Long Island attracted a total of more than 90 people aboard 40 private jets who arrived to take part in the island's festivities, making it one of the largest flyovers ever. The number of arrivals this year has increased markedly compared to previous years, when small groups of 50 people typically arrived for the 2-4 day trip. The results can be most clearly seen in the occupancy rate of Stella Maris Resort Club & Marina, which eventually sold out.
Dawn Simmons, senior executive director of the Long Island Tourism Office, expressed the importance of the event: “The arrival groups that arrive on Long Island early November, play an important role in stimulating the island's economy at the start of our busy season. Private aviation is a growing niche market for Long Island, and we are pleased to welcome groups like the Caribbean Flying Adventurers, one of two major groups that come to Long Island each year. Upon arrival, groups are greeted at a welcome reception courtesy of the host resort and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. A curated island itinerary planned for groups typically includes cave dinners, island tours and boat excursions, among other things."
The event features private pilot Jim Parker, who flies to the Bahamas already for over 10 years, was officially declared by the Aviation Department of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism as the Senior Flight Ambassador of the Bahamas. The Bahamas Flying Ambassadors are a group of experienced private pilots with extensive flying experience in and around the Bahamas. With the goal of introducing new pilots to the unique experience of flying the skies of the Bahamas, ambassadors are eager to share their knowledge of the Bahamas and the ease of flying through the Gulf Stream.
Fly-In participants enjoyed activities such as deep sea fishing, snorkeling, shopping, island hopping, dining and more. There was also a giveaway allowing guests to win various prizes and memorabilia during the trip, including BMOT caps and BMOT gift bags.
The flight to Long Island was sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation Islands (BMOTIA), Stella Maris Resort Club, Bahamas Outlying Islands Promotion Council and Caribbean Flying Adventurers. The Fly-In was considered a success as it stimulated the local Long Island economy, boosted tourism in the southern islands, and generally contributed to the growth of the private aviation sector in the Bahamas.