The Nassau/Paradise Island Meeting Planner Advisory Board gathered in June in Nassau, Bahamas, the third time the group has met to discuss the destination's appeal as a meeting and incentive site. Of the group's 23 members, 12 attended. The board, created last May, is a joint effort of the Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism and the Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board.

"With increased investment in hotels and in the general infrastructure, there is renewed interest in the Bahamas as a destination," says Michael Rigg, executive director, Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board. "Having this advisory board helps us understand how we can make our destination more inviting to meeting and incentive groups."

Advisory board members already have noted improvements.

"In the past six months a visitor welcome center has been created in the port, the new international airport terminal is a dramatic improvement over the old one, and it is now easier to bring materials in through customs," says Karyn M. Altman, director of sales, McGettigan Partners. "I like seeing that as a result of our work on the board it will be easier and more enticing to operate meetings and incentives in the Bahamas."

According to Rigg, the promotion board recently invested $96,000 in a Bahamas Air training program, and also allotted $75,000 to commission research into making the national carrier's image more professional.

The meeting executives are committed to bettering the meeting industry in the Bahamas as well. "For the past three months, advisory board members have been coming to Nassau every two weeks to prepare nine convention services managers for the CMP examination," says Rigg. "They volunteered to do this, showing real devotion."