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With over 7,000 islands, large and small, the Caribbean Sea is bustling and uninhabited. Access to some of the smaller islands can be complicated and requires several trips, sometimes by small plane, sometimes by boat alone. As such, opening or upgrading airports in the Caribbean to accommodate more travelers could have a significant impact on the local economy.
Earlier this week, Bahamian officials officially opened a new international airport on Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands. Construction of the new airport took him over three years to complete. It replaces what locals called “huts” that lacked facilities to revitalize tourism in the area. It welcomes over 1.2 million visitors, a 65% increase from 2019.
Great Harbor Cay location
Great Harbor Cay is one of the Bahamas’ many ‘out islands’. It is the largest island in a chain of small “Berry Islands” and lies just 120 miles east of Miami. It takes about an hour from South Florida to Great Harbor Cay and just 20 minutes from Nassau. This Caribbean island is only 11 km long and has about 350 inhabitants.
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In the 1960s, Great Harbor Cay became a popular getaway destination for the rich and famous for its beauty, exclusivity and proximity to Florida. However, the area’s glitz has faded over the years, and airports and other vital infrastructure have fallen behind the times. A newly built airport will make Great Harbor Cay attractive to tourists again.
Impact of new airports
Three airlines serve Great Harbor Island. Aztec Airways, Tropic Ocean Airways and Makers Air all operate direct flights from Fort Lauderdale to Great Harbour. Airport development is expected to increase the number of airlines and flights to Great Harbor He Cay. This has a ripple effect on local resorts and the island’s economy. The economy of the Berry Islands is heavily dependent on CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private her island in the Caribbean. Officials see the new airport as an opportunity to diversify the tourism economy and attract visitors from around the world.
Bahamas officials hope the island’s new airport will lead to more tourists. “This is a major development and broad impetus to revitalize Great Harbor His Cay and facilitate increased domestic and international air traffic to the Berry Islands.”
The new airport will have 9,500 square feet, a 4,800-foot runway, and employ 15 people. Davis went on to say his government aims to “decentralize national wealth and create a resilient family island economy.”
the first of many
Minister for Tourism, Aviation and Investment Chester Cooper said the opening of Great Harbor Cay Airport is the first of many new airports planned for the island nation in the next few years. New airports are already under construction on Cat Island and Exuma, he said. Grand He Bahamas and Long His Island plans are underway.
Things to do on Great Harbor Cay
Great Harbor Cay is full of beaches, scenery and charming guesthouses, but is best known for its world-class fishing. The sea surrounding the island has a deep trench called the “tongue of the sea”. The area is home to a wide variety of marine life.
Many visitors choose to charter a fishing boat with an experienced guide to see what is possible. Visitors to the island also enjoy seven miles of beautiful beaches and beautiful golf. Visitors to Bullocks Harbor can enjoy incredibly authentic dining options. Thankfully, the new Great Harbor Cay Airport has made this beautiful place more accessible to tourists.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com.