At the gateway to the Bahamas,an archipelago of 700 islands sweeping across 500 miles of open ocean, Bimini has been a media darling in 2011, as dozens of journalists from around the world have re-discovered this tiny island in the stream.
At the forefront of the news surrounding Bimini in 2011, was the successful re-opening of the historic Big Game Club, a legendary 51-room fishing resort, fully renovated and repositioned as a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort and Marina. Dr. Harvey, known internationally for his marine wildlife art and conservation initiatives, and his Outpost Resorts partners, drove home the message that not only was one of the most legendary offshore angling outposts of all time back in operation, it was also re-inventing itself in a tourism market, where eco-systems and bio-diversity are considerations when promoting traditional pursuits such as fishing, diving and boating.
In addition to dozens of traditional sport fishing and diving media, the Big Game Clubs return and Biminis ever-intriguing storylines drew travel journalists from Switzerland, Spain, Canada and the Netherlands and several US based television news and cable TV operations‹we even had the Food Channel here doing a piece on Lionfish, which we catch, prepare and serve in our dining room, said Michael Weber, General Manager of the Big Game Club.
We also successfully returned to tournament fishing with the launch of the First Annual Billfish Invitational last May as well as hosting events with Hatteras and Bertram Yachts, which celebrated their 50th anniversary here.
As the result of the local publicity and Bahamas Tourism Board promotions, according to Weber, guest visits are improving and a new wave of tourism interest in Bimini is beginning to build. Bahamas out-island tourism, according to reports through October 2011, showed visitor numbers were up 13% year-to-date.
The Big Game Club is continuing to build its own tourism focused base in 2012, promoting its traditional water sports activities along with a new push for meetings, weddings and group related programs.
Weber said the recent completion of the Gulfstream Conference Center and Hemingway¹s Rum Bar & Social Lounge will be heavily promoted as a convenient out-island venue for corporate, scientific and social group events.
Inspired by the renewed public interest, airlift into Bimini continues to improve into 2012.
Bimini has scheduled air access by several carriers including
- Silver Airways Corp, a new regional carrier launched with assets from the former Gulfstream International Airlines, (the code sharing partner of
- Continental/United) has acquired a new aircraft (34-seat Saab 340), which should be in service by February/March 2012. At present Silver has increased their frequency to two flights daily from Fort Lauderdale.
- IBC airways currently operates with Saab 30 passenger aircraft out of Fort Lauderdale International Airport with four times a week service.
- Western Air services Bimini via Nassau with two flights daily.
- For North Florida residents AirGate Aviation has announced regular scheduled service to Bimini.
- Tropic Ocean Airways is the newest member to the Big Game Club offering seaplane service to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale Sheltair on a charter basis and as a scheduled carrier in March.
For scheduling flights, Weber said its recommended to use the Outpost Travel Concierge Service through the Big Game Club¹s reservation office:
Another potential public transportation service is The Bahamas Express, a high-speed ferry service currently linking Fort Lauderdale and Freeport in the Bahamas. Future plans call for more regular service ports, including Bimini (tentatively March 2012).
Attracting the bulk of travelers to Bimini, according to Weber, will be the traditional blue water angling, backcountry fly fishing and diving pursuits offered at the Bimini Big Game Club and other properties.