This week, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (BMOTIA) closed out the last leg of its successful series of Global Sales and Marketing Missions in North America with a visit to Atlanta.

The mission to Atlanta sought to reengage tourism partners and reconnect with film and production stakeholders to help boost visitor arrivals from the area and identify new opportunities to develop the Bahamian orange economy.

The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, led a delegation of senior tourism officials, including Director General (DG) Latia Duncombe, to Atlanta to participate in a number of meetings and events with leaders from across the tourism, investments and film industry. DPM Cooper and senior tourism officials also took part in two culturally inspired evening galas held at Flourish Atlanta on 13 Sept. and the Intercontinental Buckhead on 14 Sept.

The first evening event featured a film awards and reception in honour of The Bahamas' longstanding on-screen legacy and deep-rooted pop culture influence, by bringing together film and tourism industry leaders, on-island tourism partners and media. The night culminated with special awards being presented to friends of The Bahamas who are doing trailblazing work in the film and production industry.

The individuals honoured included award-winning film producer Will Packer, actor and musician Tyrese Gibson and former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, who were given recognition for their partnership and support of The Islands of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Film Commission. For the second night of industry engagement, DPM Cooper and DG Duncombe, along with BMOTIA executives, destination representatives, and hotel partners, hosted almost 200 guests including sales and travel trade representatives, industry stakeholders and media.

A live Q+A panel highlighted The Bahamas' steadily growing tourism numbers, plans for future growth and innovation, the beauty and appeal of its 16 islands, and the many reasons why The Bahamas remains one of the most sought-after destinations. On both evenings, guests were transported to The Bahamas via mouth-watering Bahamian-inspired bites by One and Only Ocean Club Chef Jamal Small, island-themed cocktails by Marv "Mr. Mix" Cunningham, rhythmic sounds from the Grand Bahama Royal Bahamas Police Force Pop Band and electrifying Junkanoo performances to close out the celebrations.

Throughout the mission, the delegation, in collaboration with the Bahamas Consulate General in Atlanta, engaged in high-level meetings with emerging business entities and agencies such as Delta Airlines, the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor's Office of International and Immigrant Affairs and the Office of the Mayor Film and Entertainment Department. In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister made a special live in-studio appearance on Atlanta & Company, Alive 11 News (NBC), with Host Cara Kneer to promote the wide range of offerings for guests looking for an island getaway and the nonstop air connections available from Atlanta to the different islands including Nassau, Abaco, North Eleuthera and Exuma.