We here at Saint Francis Resort and Anchorage, Exuma, Bahamas are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the devastation following the recent events of Hurricane Dorian in and around the Bahamas.We would like to send our sincere condolences to the victims of the disaster, to those who have lost loved ones, and those who have seen their homes and property destroyed. Our thoughts and hearts are with all of you who are affected.
To Our Future guests:
We would like to inform you that Exuma, Bahamas was not affected by Hurricane Dorian. Saint Francis was not impacted by the storm and we are business as usual. We look forward to welcoming our future guests to Exuma and Stocking Island.
The Blue Holes of ExumaBlue holes are one of the natures most stunning and mysterious elements. Luckily, Exuma has multiple blue holes for locals and visitors to visit and explore!
Have you ever seen something in nature that made you think, this is too weirdly beautiful and amazing to be real? Well, blue holes are one of those natural phenomena that can make you think that.
Blue holes are large underwater caverns or sinkholes that are open to the surface. They can extend way below sea level and some even have submerged passages that connect to inland water holes. Blue holes can be found all over the world, from Asia to Africa. You don’t have to travel halfway across the world to see them though. Exuma, Bahamas has multiple blue holes for you to visit and explore.
Blue Hole Locations
Exuma has more blue holes than any other place on Earth. Some are so large that their tunnel system runs under entire islands. Some blue holes are great for diving, others for snorkeling, and some for swimming. Here are some of the most popular blue holes in Exuma.
- Mystery Cave: Mystery Cave is probably one of the most famous blue holes in Exuma. It’s one of the three entrances to the blue hole on Stocking Island. This is a cave that can only be reached by those with diving skills and experience. Make sure you visit with a professional so that you aren’t injured.
- Angelfish Blue Hole: Another entrance to the Stocking Island blue hole, this area has a diving depth of 92 feet. There’s even a chamber on the bottom you can swim through.
- Bottomley’s Blue Hole: This hole presents itself as a swimming hole and is the third entrance to the blue hole on Stocking Island. It’s a popular location for local kids to cliff dive. It was recently named after Howland Bottomley who was a local that lived directly behind the hole.
The blue holes of the Bahamas are unique geological features as they are the only tidal blue holes in the world.
Blue holes are underwater caves, so called because of their coloration when viewed from above; the dark blue deep water in the ‘holes’ contrasts with the light blue shallow water surrounding them.
The current theory is that these underwater caves were formed above sea level a number of ice ages ago when sea levels were about 400 feet lower. When sea levels rose many became submerged. Around Exuma there are a number of blue holes that are connected to inland sinkholes.
As the blue holes are tidal, for safety, they can only be visited at a slack tide, as the tidal pull is very strong.
ANGELFISH BLUE HOLE
Angelfish Blue Hole is located in an enclosed bay off Stocking Island, it reaches a maximum diving depth of 92 feet and there is a chamber that you can swim through when at the bottom.
A school of hose-eye jacks circle around the entrance to the hole as large blue parrotfish dart past. The bay that Angelfish blue hole is located in, is home to a school of eagle rays and turtles. They will often pass by the blue hole during our dive trip.
Mystery Cave is located at the entrance of the same bay Angelfish Blue Hole is found. This cave system runs under Stocking Island and explorers, including Jacques-Yves Cousteau, have proved that the system links to an inland blue hole.
Requiring technical dive skills to safely visit this cave we visit here as a snorkel site rather than a dive site.
The entrance to Mystery Cave is a beautiful snorkeling spot where snapper, grunts, schoolmaster, sergeant major and a school of Atlantic spadefish can be seen.
Step onto the white-sand beaches of the Exumas — a chain of more than 365 tiny Bahamian islands and sleepy cays — and you'll be struck with the feeling that you're the first to discover this remarkable corner of the planet.
Here it's iguana tails, not human footprints, that leave marks in the sand, and stumbling upon a gleaming pink conch shell the size of your head is as common as having a new shade of blue catch your eye each time you survey the surrounding waters.
But as your boat approaches Big Major Cay, you're awoken from this daydream by some rather boorish inhabitants: loud, snorting pigs paddling out to greet you like a jolly bunch of golden retrievers rushing to the door when their owner finally gets home from a long day of work.
The locals at Big Major's “Pig Beach” are transplants rather than native islanders, just like many of the people you'll meet in the area. And though they've clearly taken to their tropical digs and rising popularity — spurred in part by a dramatic appearance on “The Bachelor” and more than a few well-liked Instagram posts — the rewards of fame (read: free food) have come at a cost.
Since human visitors have become a fixture on the island, the pigs have mostly abandoned foraging in the forest in favor of eating the food that's thrown to them from boats and on the shore.
Here's what we learned on a recent visit, including how to get there, what to expect, where to stay, and, of course, how to responsibly interact with the animals.
Where are the swimming pigs?
The pigs live on Big Major Cay, one of the over 365 islands in Exuma, a district of the Bahamas. Also known as Pig Beach (for obvious reasons), the island is about 82 miles southeast of Nassau, and about 50 miles northwest of George Town. It is entirely uninhabited by humans.
How do you get to Pig Beach?
The only way to reach Pig Beach is by boat, so you'll either have to charter one or take a guided tour.
A popular tour company in the area is 4C's Adventures, which offers a full-day tour that includes visiting the pigs, swimming with nurse sharks, meeting iguanas, a sandbar picnic, and snorkeling in the famous Thunderball Grotto (a scenic spot that has been in two James Bond films
You may also want to weigh your options with St Francis regarding how to get there by boat.
How did the pigs end up at the beach?
Even for their neighbors, the swimming pigs are shrouded in mystery. Local legends abound, from a tale about a shipwreck to one about hungry pirates who dropped them off and never made it back for their meal. But a man named Wayde Nixon claims to have brought the first pigs to the island with his business partner, Don Rolle, in hopes of starting up a pig farm in the late 1990s. Nixon told theTodayshow he was preparing a sustainable food supply in case of the feared Y2K computer meltdown. If his story is true, the pigs may have been even more relieved than we were when screens didn't go dark on New Year's Day 2000.
Can you feed the pigs?
You can give the pigs food for now, though V. Alfred Gray, minister of agriculture and marine resources, told the Nassau Guardian rules would be put in place after tourists were eyed in the pigs' untimely deaths. Nixon and Rolle also said in February that they were working with the government on new regulations.
Meanwhile, the deaths are a solemn reminder to think before you feed. If you do feed the pigs, limit the snacks to pitted fruits and vegetables, and feed them in the water instead of in the sand to avoid more sand ingestion. A good alternative to food would be attempting to feed them fresh water, as their supply on the island is limited.
Another thing to note is that the pigs will chase you if you're carrying food, and some are quite large, so if you scare easily, you might want to roam the beach food-free.
When is the best time to visit them?
Most tours to the island run between 9 a.m. and sunset, a local guide told Travel + Leisure, so if you're taking your own boat, go early in the morning for the most uninterrupted attention from the pigs. By late afternoon, you'll usually find them tuckered out with full bellies, and they're more likely to lounge in the sand than to paddle through the water with you.
You can visit any time of year, but know that June through November is considered hurricane season, and when a dangerous storm is coming, the pigs are usually taken to shelter by a local water sports company.
Our plans call for the development of an Eco Resort over the next 5 years
We are planning an Eco resort * for St Francis on Stocking Island island in the Bahamas, a combination of an Eco, aqua lodge and glamping * resort. So how exactly are we going to do to make this happen?
Let’s examine how we plan to do it.
Our Eco resort * will endeavor to be self sustaining. Power will generated by diesel fueled generators. Water will be produced through reverse osmosis and we will plan to grow our own food through the use of aeroponics, aquaculture( St Francis home grown fish) and animal husbandry. I will explain each process in the course of the blog. In conjunction with the above we plan to accommodate eco tourists who will stay with us and enjoy all the benefits that the Island and our resort have to offer. The fun aspect of the resort will be the development of the aqua lodge element of the project.
Let’s take a look at each element a little closer.
What is an eco resort by definition?
Simply put, an eco resort is a lodging facility that takes active steps toward environmental sustainability and social responsibility by helping its natural surroundings and the local community.
One thing all three of these “green” accommodation options have in common is that they emphasize elements such as environmental responsibility and minimizing negative impact.
The best ones also offer renewable energy sources, recycling services, eco-friendly toiletries, energy efficient lighting, locally sourced food, organic linens, non-toxic cleaning supplies, non-disposable dishes, water conservation methods, and various other sustainability-focused initiatives.
But most eco resorts tend to be more dependent on the natural environment than eco hotels.
They’re also generally more active in nature and wildlife conservation, more focused on educating visitors about the flora and fauna of local ecosystems, and more deeply connected with the area’s indigenous culture (whose influence is often incorporated into the eco resort’s decor and restaurant menu).
The best eco resorts and eco lodges also work to ensure positive relationships with the local people. They train and employ them at fair wages, take part in community development initiatives, offer activities that help visitors conserve and appreciate local customs, and contribute to the local economy.
Our organic hydroponics/aeroponics/aqua farm will provide fresh fruits, vegetables and St Francis fish, reducing the need for imported products. Food waste will be distributed directly from residential and commercial structures to a composting center which will reduce waste and create a product for soil enrichment. Rainwater will be collected in cisterns and a solar-powered, reverse-osmosis desalinization plant will convert seawater into fresh, drinkable water for the development.
The idyllic, self-sustaining property will cover more than two acres from the Atlantic Ocean (2,000 feet of frontage) to Elizabeth Harbor while operating entirely off-grid through extensive use of solar tiles and storage batteries.
Ironically, the project is expected to fuel-inject the local economy, igniting investment and providing jobs the local community. The sustainable development will create an environment that is inclusive of the Bahamian people and local culture, an uncommon effort among many secluded luxury resorts. The eco-engineered project will bring employment opportunities, provide athletic facilities and instruction to local schools, and offer a platform for artists, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs to thrive.”
George Town International Airport, which has port of entry status and is 40 minutes from the future development.
* Glamping resort:
What exactly is glamping?
Glamping is where stunning nature meets modern luxury. It’s a way to experience the untamed and completely unique parts of the world—without having to sacrifice creature comforts.
The way we travel has changed. We no longer want a generic, one-size-fits-all vacation. We want to explore on our terms and immerse ourselves in local culture, and we no longer just want to simply witness nature—we want to live in it. A fusion of glamour and camping, glamping is a way to authentically experience the most awe-inspiring locales around the world.
It’s much more than a nice tent.
The glamping movement is growing, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Across the globe, you’ll find incredible destinations, each offering their own unique advantages. You can wake up in a yurt on a mountaintop. Reside in the forest canopy in a treehouse. Take in the panoramic views in an eco-lodge.
* Eco Tourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. It means responsible travel to natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Since the 1980s, ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention.:33 Several university programs use this description as the working definition of ecotourism.
Generally, ecotourism deals with interaction with biotic components of the natural environments. Ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists an insight into the impact of human beings on the environment and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats.
Responsible ecotourism programs include those that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for local communities. For these reasons, ecotourism often appeals to advocates of environmental and social responsibility.
Many consider the term "ecotourism", like "sustainable tourism", an oxymoron. Like most forms of tourism, ecotourism generally depends on air transportation, which contributes to global climate change. Additionally, "the overall effect of sustainable tourism is negative where like ecotourism philanthropic aspirations mask hard-nosed immediate self-interest."
Aquaponics (/ˈækwəˈpɒnɪks/) refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria initially into nitrites and subsequently into nitrates that are utilized by the plants as nutrients. Then, the water is recirculated back to the aquaculture system.
As existing hydroponic and aquaculture farming techniques form the basis for all aquaponic systems, the size, complexity, and types of foods grown in an aquaponic system can vary as much as any system found in either distinct farming discipline.
Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. The word "aeroponic" is derived from the Greek meanings of aer (ἀήρ, "air") and ponos (πόνος, "labour"). Aeroponic culture differs from both conventional hydroponics, aquaponics, and in-vitro (plant tissue culture) growing. Unlike hydroponics, which uses a liquid nutrient solution as a growing medium and essential minerals to sustain plant growth; or aquaponics which uses water and fish waste, aeroponics is conducted without a growing medium.[failed verification] It is sometimes considered a type of hydroponics, since water is used in aeroponics to transmit nutrients.
Permaculture is a set of design principles centered on whole systems thinking simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, and community.
The term permaculture was developed and coined by David Holmgren, then a graduate student at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education's Department of Environmental Design, and Bill Mollison, senior lecturer in Environmental Psychology at University of Tasmania, in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to "permanent agriculture", but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture", as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.
It has many branches that include, but are not limited to, ecological design, ecological engineering, regenerative design, environmental design, and construction. Permaculture also includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems.
Mollison has said: "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
The 12 principles of permaculture most commonly referred to are first described by David Holmgren in his book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability (2002). They include: Observe and Interact, Catch and Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback, Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services, Produce No Waste, Design From Patterns to Details, Integrate Rather Than Segregate, Use Small and Slow Solutions, Use and Value Diversity, Use Edges and Value the Marginal, and Creatively Use and Respond to Change.
Types of Adventure Tourism
Adventure tourism has grown exponentially all over the world in recent years with tourist visiting destinations previously undiscovered. This allows for a new destination to market themselves as truly unique, appealing to those traveler looking for rare, incomparable experience.
Adventure tourism includes various activities like caving, hiking, sailing, trekking etc. Adventure tourism categorized into two categories. These are following as:
- Hard Adventure
- Soft Adventure
Hard adventure refers to activities with high levels of risk, requiring intense commitment and advanced skills. Hard tourism includes the activities like climbing mountains/rock/ice, trekking, caving etc.
Hard adventure activities are highly risked in nature. Professional guide, advance level skills are required to perform these activities. Many tourists died during climbing mountains, caving every day. There is an interesting fact that is for K2, world 2nd highest mountain, for every two people who submit one dies.
Soft adventure refers to activities with a perceived risk but low levels of risk, requiring minimal commitment and beginning skills; most of these activities are led by experienced guides. Soft tourism includes the activities like backpacking, camping, hiking, kayaking etc.
Soft adventure activities are low risk in nature. These activities are led by professional guides. Soft adventure is a popular category in adventure tourism. On average, 25% trips taken from North America and Europe are soft adventure trips.
Adventure travelers are early adopters by nature, meaning they are generally more willing to try new destinations, activities, and travel products. Popular activities change rapidly, and it seems there is a new twist on an existing sport every few years.
Some activities have low risk and some have high. Adventure tourism activities are classified into two types:
- Hard Adventure Activities
- Soft Adventure Activities
Hard Adventure Activities
Hard adventure activities are highly risky and dangerous in nature. These activities are following as:
- Mountain Climbing
- Rock Climbing
- Ice Climbing
- Sky Diving
Soft Adventure Activities
These activities are less dangerous and risk as compared to hard adventure activities. These activities are always lead by professional guides. These activities are following as:
- Bird watching
- Horseback riding
- Scuba Diving
Adventure tourism activities sit well with the environment because the natural world provides us with the resources for many of the activities that provide risk, challenge, sensory stimulus, novelty, discovery and so on.
The threefold combination of activity, nature, and culture marks adventure travel as an all-round challenge. Some unique characteristics and features of adventure tourism are following as:
- Physical activity, i.e. activities involving physical exertion or psychomotor skills.
- Contact with nature, i.e. activities bringing contact with the natural world in general, or with specific wildlife.
- Contact with different cultures, i.e. people, faith, lifestyles
- Journeys, i.e. vehicle-, animal-, or human-power.
- Uncertain outcomes
- Danger and risk
- Anticipated rewards
- Stimulation and excitement
- Exploration and discovery
- Contrasting emotions
Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism sector, attracting high-value customers, supporting local economies, and encouraging sustainable practices.
The continued growth of this sector creates net positive impacts not only for tourism, but also for destination economies, their people, and their environment.Stocking Island is a prime example of a soft adventure destination. We at Saint Francis hope you enjoy all that Stocking Island has to offer.
What are the best things to do on a week vacation to Exuma?
Part of the fun of Exuma is just exploring and losing track of time.
For those that want (or need) a plan, here is our check list for a week long visit:
Go to Stocking Island - half day or full day
Fresh conch salad served right on the beach. Feed the stingrays, play volleyball and enjoy some beer and BBQ at the laid-back and iconic Chat & Chill beach bar. Pay the water taxi a few extra bucks and have them swing you by Blue Hole to feed the fish (bring some bread scraps)! You can also rent a boat at Minn’s if you want even more freedom to explore. We often skip the scene at Chat & Chill and go to the ocean side for some body surfing and hike to the peak. (More on the hike and a map can be found here). Water taxi from the main dock in George Town - runs hourly or as customers arrive.
Take a tour of the Exuma Cays (Yes this includes Swimming Pigs!) - 1 Day
Take a tour of Exuma Cays. Tour companies listed here. Available as group or private tours and also full day or half day. They leave from Barratry at the extreme North West tip of Great Exuma. You can see: Swimming Pigs, Iguanas, Nurse Sharks, Thunder Ball Grotto and much more. We have done both the half day and the full day tour as part of a group and also as a private boat...we've always had a great experience. You will end up with many great photos and memories.
Sea Kayaking or Boat - half day (or multi day rental)
Some beach houses come with a sea kayak or other boat. You can also rent both small boats and kayaks from local operators. Minn's in George Town rents small powerboats around Elizabeth Harbour and over to Stocking Island. We think the best Kayaking is around Mariah Cay. There is a boat launch right at the bridge to Little Exuma. The water here is particularly calm. It is truly a marine safari and you always see fish, birds and often sea turtles. Exploring around the nature reserve is incredible.
Find your Best Beach - 2 or 3 days
Chances are you have a great beach where you are staying and we always suggest at least 2 or 3 days just hanging out enjoying the view and the water. We believe the absolute best beaches are on Little Exuma from the gap near the bridge down to the famous Tropic of Cancer beach. If you have rented a car, it is worth driving the Island. We usually alternate a beach day with an activity or tour. There is lots of choice from a few busy beach bar beaches to many beaches where you will likely have all to yourself. We recommend half day trips to explore a beach or two at a time. Pack a picnic or stop at one of the beach bars for a snack. (More on best beaches here.)Go Fishing
For those that like to fish there are some incredible choices. Bone fishing is legendary. You can do by casting or fly fishing. Best to take a guide to give you pointers and help you spot them in the shallow water. They are not easy to catch but give an incredible fight. Also a half day or full day deep sea fishing is incredible. Wahoo, Kingfish, Mahi Mahi and more are just off shore "in the blue" of Exuma sound. And finally, reef fishing or shore fishing is always fun. One of the best spots is the bridge to Little Exuma. A list of guides can be found here.
Make sure you leave lots of time for just hanging out with a good book in that perfect beach chair or hammock. At night, there are some fun beach bars around George Town some with live music on particular nights and the Fish Fry usually is a bit of a scene on weekend nights. We prefer to sit on our patio with a cold Kalik beer, occasionally gazing at the stars or the moon through our telescope which is arguably the best light show on earth
The perfect Exuma week will clearly depend on what you are looking for but the list above hopefully gives you a start!
Island Updates from the Exumas
George Town Airport planned extension
$44 million Exuma airport could be mini-hub for southern Bahamas
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Exuma’s $44 million dollar airport expansion could see the island emerge as a mini-hub for the southern Bahamas, according to Aviation Director Algernon Cargill.
With Abaco’s tourism product having been severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian, Cargill said a ‘sharper focus’ will now be placed on islands such as Exuma to continue to promote the country’s tourism sector.
Cargill underscored more than $200 million in airport activity is on the immediate drawing board, including a $15 million airport for Deadman’s Cay Long Island and a $70 million North Eleuthera airport.
The Exuma facility will be ‘ready for business’ by 2020, he said at a press conference to announce the 13th annual Exuma Business Outlook.
Cargill said: “Exuma has always been extremely important to The Bahamas’s tourism product but it is even more important now since Dorian and its significant negative impact on the tourism product in Abaco and Grand Bahama. As a result we are going to see a sharper focus on Exuma. This means that the airport’s delivery is even more important than it has been in the past. We have done the studies and we are very pleased that the project is on track.
“The airport will be ready for business by 2020 and it is our objective to ensure that this 50,000 plus square foot airport is ready and we can take advantage of the opportunities that exist in Exuma post Dorian.
He added: “Abaco has always been one of our busiest airports in The Bahamas. With the tourism product significantly impacted as a result of Dorian we have to look at other island to ensure that we continent to promote the product.”
This four-mile-long island still manages to offer a vacation full of deep satisfaction. Surfers find their true destination over on the Atlantic side. Snorkeling is spectacular in the coral gardens—and pretty much everywhere else.
The famous Angelfish Blue Hole and Mystery Cave have lured those as celebrated as Jacques Cousteau. However, even experienced divers are probably best off going down with someone who knows the ins—and outs—of the feature’s strong tidal currents.
The nature trails lead you up to the top of the island and archipelago wide views. For those who are just fine staying on the beach, the island offers an array of beautiful shells including giant sand dollars and, of course, the conch. Venture a few steps into the water—especially at Chat ’N’ Chill—and you’ll discover the delights of swimming with the rays.
But just before you amble down to the happy chaos of Chat ’N’ Chill—do this.
Breathe. Look around. Turn and turn again. Take it all in.
For you may just find—no matter how often you come—that it will be too long until your boat lands here again…
The pristine waters, shifting sandbars, and unique marine life make the Exumas the most exotic of the Out Islands.
Sustainable Travel Initiative-Sept 2019
Prince Harry launches sustainable travel initiative Travalyst
Harry has joined forces with travel industry firms to look at improving conservation and benefitting local communities
What is it?
Prince Harry’s new charitable foundation, Sussex Royal, has helped launch an initiative to raise awareness of, and promote, sustainable travel. Travalyst is a collaboration between five companies – Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa – aimed at improving conservation efforts, protecting the environment and helping develop the economies of communities involved in the tourist industry.
Speaking at the launch in Amsterdam, Harry said the project was partly inspired by a seven-year-old boy he met on a working trip to the Caribbean, who told him: “Because of your country, my country’s coral reef is dying.”
The initiative has been in the planning for around two years but with the prince making headlines in recent weeks over his use of private jets the timing of the launch has been criticised, with some accusations of hypocrisy. The companies involved were unable to share concrete plans, saying only that further announcements could be expected within the next 18 months.
Prince Harry and representatives from the Travalyst initiative at the launch event in Amsterdam.
The partnership acknowledges that there is a growing demand to travel more sustainably, while benefiting communities, the environment and wildlife, but accepts that the industry needs to be the catalyst for change.
TripAdvisor’s recent animal welfare initiative was well-received by its community of 390 million users. Booking.com is working with communities around the world to meet the demand for accommodation such as homestays, and has been supporting sustainable travel startups through its Booking Booster programme. This €2m-a-year fund has aided schemes including a social enterprise training trekking guides in Nepal and, in Africa, an app that helps connect tourists with entrepreneurs.
Skyscanner has been using an “eco rating” on its listings to promote greener choices but as a key player in the flight sales market, it will be scrutinized over whether it includes other forms of transport on the platform (it trialled rail travel earlier this year and abandoned the idea). Skyscanner is owned by Ctrip, the biggest tour operator in China – one of the fastest-growing markets in outbound tourism. And Visa, which has 3.3bn customers worldwide, says it has the ability to conduct extensive research into the success of sustainable travel. The companies have also said they are in discussions with NGOs, travel organizations and corporate partners about joining the initiative.
Possible successes, and problems?
The fact that very large travel organizations are involved means there could be potential for a new industry-wide certification or badge of sustainability – one with clear, demonstrable guidelines and achievements. However, the elephant in the room remains the issue of flying, and how travel can be sustainable unless we fly less. There was little discussion of this at the launch. The initiative appears to focus on boosting the benefits of travel for local communities and destinations where tourism is essential to their economy.
“We cannot dismiss the idea of doing something just because we cannot do everything,” Prince Harry said. “We can all do better, and while no one is perfect, we all have a responsibility for our own individual impact. The question is what we do to balance it out.”
Despite what many see as a lack of clarity over carbon-offsetting schemes, he went on to say that he felt carbon offsetting was the way forward.
The #Bahamas has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable tourism
The #Bahamas has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable tourism at the recent #UNWTO Regional Commission! Conservation of its rich natural & cultural assets are a top priority, meaning travellers hoping to mitigate their impact will have a multitude of options.
Please support Bahamas Tourism
As relief and recovery efforts continue in Grand Bahama and Abaco, Bahamas officials stressed that nearly the entirety of the country’s 700-island tourism economy was open for business.
Indeed, every airport in The Bahamas with the exception of those in Abaco and Grand Bahama have already reopened for commercial and private flights.
“All other airports throughout The Bahamas are open and operational,” the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said in a statement this week.
“Now is the time to come together for our brothers and sisters in need, and help our country get back on its feet,” said Bahamas Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar. “We also implore travelers to continue visiting the Bahamian islands that were not impacted by Hurricane Dorian as this will help our people tremendously.”
The airport re openings include the country’s major hub, Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport, and airports in destinations including Bimini, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Great Harbour Cay, San Salvador, Acklins, Exumas and others.
A map of all 14 destinations currently open for business and welcoming travelers. All of the destinations in yellow are active travel destinations.
Indeed, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism put out a map showing all of the 14 major destinations that are open and welcoming tourists already, above.
Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis stressed that returning the rest of the country’s tourism economy to normal was essential for long-term recovery of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
He urged travelers to continue booking their trips to The Bahamas and to return soon.
“One of the best ways that people from around the world can show their support and solidarity with The Bahamas at this time, is to visit our other islands by air or by cruise ship,” Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said this week. “To keep our economy strong in order to help with recovery and reconstruction, we will need to keep our booming tourism economy vibrant.”
The all-important cruise industry in The Bahamas has also returned to normal operations, according to a statement from the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.
“Fortunately, Nassau and cruise lines’ private [destinations] in The Bahamas are open, fully operational and ready to welcome guests with a smile,” the FCCA said in a statement.
And as travelers return, the Bahamas is urging everyone to continue to support ongoing relief efforts.
Traveling To The Bahamas After Dorian Is One Of The Best Ways To Help It Recover
Though Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas in September, canceling your plans to visit the archipelago would be a mistake. The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island are still recovering, but over a dozen islands are continuing to welcome tourists. In fact, according to the Bahamas' tourism ministry, traveling to the Bahamas is one of the most helpful things you can do right now, and there are a few ways you can make sure your dollars are directly impacting locals.
Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas earlier in September, slamming the archipelago with 185 mph winds — but not every island was so heavily impacted. The Bahamas is made up of 700 islands spread over 100,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, and the nation relies heavily on tourism, with roughly half of Bahamians working in the industry, per the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. And with islands like Nassau, Paradise Island, and The Exumas virtually unaffected by the hurricane, the Bahamas can still benefit from visitors.
"Maintaining a robust tourism industry will be vital in helping the country to recover and rebuild," said tourism and aviation minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation, in a press release provided to Bustle. "We are grateful for the outpouring of support and love for our islands, and we would like everyone to know that the best thing they can do for us right now is visit Nassau, Paradise Island and the Out Islands. Our beautiful island nation is ready to welcome you." If you want to visit the islands in the coming months, here's how to do it responsibly.
Regatta Week April 21-25, 2020
67th Annual National Family Island Regatta
There are five days of sailing Bahamian native sloops. A tradition that has started from 1954 and today is one of the oldest regattas in The Bahamas.