22 FEB 2016:  The Bahamas plays Cupid in a new contest aimed at couples who are preparing to take a walk down the aisle.  The Caribbean’s leading wedding destination which also served as the steamy location in this season’s episode six of The Bachelor TV reality show is now actively in search of 16 eligible Canadian couples to tie the knot there.

This could be the answer agents are seeking for their island-loving, possibly cash-strapped clients, whose dream is to marry on a paradise isle.

Year of Romance in the Caribbean

The new 16 Bahamas Weddings Invitation contest media launch held last week in Toronto is a national multimedia campaign part of an aggressive plan to capitalize on the romance market in this year’s “Year of Romance in the Caribbean” declared by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

The new promotions are also meant to showcase The Bahamas’ charm and beauty, invited guests heard at an industry luncheon.

A contingent of local tourism and government officials from the Islands of The Bahamas including the director general of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT), Joy Jibrilu, and the BMOT’s director of romance, Freda Malcolm, shared the latest developments to tourism partners, trade media, and bloggers.

Bahamas + Weddings

“The wedding market is so important to us,” says Malcolm.

The multi-billion dollar industry, she says, includes everything, “from the moment of the proposal up until they exchange vows.”

The icing on the cake:  The World Travel Awards named The Bahamas  ‘the World’s Leading Weddings Destination’ in 2015.  

Jibrilu said, “In fact the value of the weddings and honeymoons market is estimated at over $110-million per annum.”

The MOT reports roughly 76,000 visitors arrive annually to The Bahamas for the purpose of romance with this group having a higher average spend compared to the average $1,475.

16 Bahamas Weddings Invitation Contest Details

For the Bahamas 16 Weddings contest, which previewed in January at the Canada’s Bridal Show, couples are encouraged to upload digital photos and videos to www.bahamas16weddings.com. The contestants are asked to describe their dream island wedding and why they should be a winner.

The Bahamas Tourist Office encourages entrants to incorporate distinct Bahamian themes into their wedding ceremony.  “Couples are being asked to write their love story, and how they fell in love, and what does it mean to spend a week in The Bahamas for them,” says Malcolm, and adds a helpful tip: make submissions unique.

“They are encouraged to bring something different to the table so they can be one of the sixteen winners.”

A panel of judges will select 20 semi-finalists but consumers via social media will ultimately vote on the most creatively produced submissions.  

“We want people to share that entry so when it comes to May 16 with the entry period ending on June 10, we want them to share it on Facebook, email, (and other social media channels),” explained Andre Miller, Director of Global Communications for The Bahamas MOT.

Campaign Backgrounder

The campaign was first introduced in 2011 during a pilot programme in the UK under deputy director general of Tourism, Ellison “Tommy” Thompson. “We won for most innovative marketing campaign in the UK and to follow that we thought let’s do it again,” Malcolm said, and added over 3000 entries were made during a US launch in 2014. “It was because of that idea we won world leading weddings destination.”

Wedding Contest Winners “The sixteen contestants with the most votes will form the winning group of couples to be married,” she said. The contest runs now until June 10. Winners will be announced on June 16.

When will the wedding confetti fly for the 16 nuptial ceremonies? Try this November 16 at 16:00 hours on 16 islands among them Crooked Island, Cat Island, Harbour Island and Paradise Island.

The Bahamas Tourist Office notes couples will receive a wedding package valued at $12,000 which includes complimentary round trip airfare for two, six days/five nights’ accommodations, meals for five nights, a wedding ceremony, wedding cake and flowers, and a wedding coordinator.

Zika Virus-Free In addition, Jibrilu provided a list of ongoing tourism-related projects aimed at infrastructure improvements, hotel developments and spoke about the Zika virus situation, which to date she noted The Bahamas remains Zika virus-free.

“Health officials in The Bahamas have moved quickly to put in place preventative measures throughout our islands and have heightened vigilance at our point of entry,” she said.

The MOT’s Romance Department is planning several initiatives in its latest campaign.



Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

Read more from Ilona Kauremszky

comments powered by Disqus