Categorized | Featured, National News

Miami Heat’s Training Camp Boosts Tourism

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The fact that the Miami Heat basketball team is holding a training camp session in The Bahamas ahead of the 2013/2014 season is good news for the country during a time which is an otherwise slow tourism period for the country.

Senior Vice President of Communications at the Atlantis Resort Ed Fields said it is good news for the mega hotel property and The Bahamas at a time when most hotel properties are forced to close or lay off workers due to decreased occupancy levels.

“This is relatively a slow time of the year so any business, we’re happy to have,”
he said. “But more so it’s about the future of the destination and by destination I mean Atlantis and The Bahamas.

“You’ve got media here, who won’t just be covering the team but also The Bahamas so anything that goes to promoting The Bahamas and Atlantis we’re happy to be a part of.”

The team arrived in The Bahamas just after 9:00 p.m. Monday at the Odyssey Airport and was greeted by a junkanoo rush out and excited Bahamian Heat fans.

Mr. Fields said events like these are exactly what The Bahamas needs in order to keep the tourism product thriving year round.

“It’s about what this does for the destination,” Mr. Fields added. “When you put these types of things in place the benefits far outweigh the investment.

“I always tell people that back in 1998 when we opened Royal Towers he Oprah Winfrey Show came to the Bahama and it probably cost us about $1 million but the response and bookings we got for that two weeks was literally immeasurable. So these aren’t just heads and beds while they are happening, these are really good marketing events.”

After an intense practice session Monday, reporters got one on one interviews with the Heat’s Big Three; Dwyane Wade, Lebron James and Chris Bosh who said while they are here strictly on business, they are enjoying being in The Bahamas and was touched by the warm welcome.

“It’s great being here and the welcome was just awesome,” Mr. Wade said. “The dancers were awesome and are in awesome shape to dance for so long.”

“We just want to thank the Ministry of Tourism and everyone here in The Bahamas for welcoming us so warmly,” Mr. Bosh added.

“It was just awesome,” Mr. James said. “Being in the islands and the warm welcome it was great.”

Mr. Fields said it took nothing to transform the ballroom into a professional grade, full basketball court due to experience with their annual Battle for Atlantis event.

He added that hosting events like these show the country’s potential and paves the way for even greater opportunities in sports tourism.

“If the facilities are here there are many people who want to come to The Bahamas and get away from the daily routine and this is relaxing,” he added. If we do more and more of these things it will only bode well for the destination and The Bahamas going forward.”

Mr. Fields said this year’s Battle for Atlantis in November is already drawing in thousands of tourist as 2,000 supporters of the University of Kansas team have already booked rooms.

Additionally he said the hotel is already booked out for Thanksgiving.

Ianthia Smith

Written by Ianthia Smith

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