People-To-People Ambassadors in the Bahamas
Bahamians are renowned for their warmth, hospitality, and love for sharing their island home with visitors from all over the world. So it is no surprise that they have a program in place to support and build relationships between travelers and locals. The People-to-People Program is a free service that connects foreigners visiting The Bahamas with locals based on shared interests, occupations, age, religious beliefs, hobbies, and more. At Taste of the Bahamas, we love being a part of the program because it allows us to share our culture and history with everyone in addition to our tours.
History of the People-To-People Program
The Bahamian ambassador program was established in 1975 by Sir. Clement T. Maynard. Its aim was to encourage and grow the tourism sector by giving visitors an authentic and local experience of the islands. Since then, it has grown to include over 800 volunteer ambassadors who are screened and certified through the Ministry of Tourism. Tourism plays an essential role in the Bahamian economy, providing around 50% of the nation’s jobs. The success can be attributed to a few things. The Bahamas is loved for its sunny and warm climate, beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, and the islands’ proximity to the U.S. However, above all else, it is the Bahamian people that stand out above the rest. Meeting a local when traveling to a foreign country as a tourist can often seem like an impossible task. But thanks to this program, over the past four decades visitors have been able to engage not only with the vibrant sites, but also with the people.
Today, the program is stronger than ever with volunteers on nine Bahamian Islands: Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Exuma, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Harbour Island, Long Island, and Nassau. This means that almost every tourist has the opportunity to engage in a one-on-one cultural exchange with a local, regardless of their destination. The community-involvement program is also free for visitors, thanks to the generosity of both the volunteers and The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. If you’re interested in experiencing the program, it is recommended that you apply two weeks prior to traveling to allow the Ministry adequate time to match you with your ambassador.
What’s more, People-to-People now includes monthly tea parties hosted by the wife of the Governor-General where you can sample tasty Bahamian pastries, and native bush teas. The gathering also features performances by local artists, which can include fashion shows, live musical acts, or storytelling. Visitors can arrange an invite to the parties through their hotels or by contacting the People-to-People Unit.
Our Experience As People-To-People Ambassadors
Both Donald and Vicki, owners here at Taste of the Bahamas, love being People-to-People ambassadors. It is clear that sharing the cuisine, culture, and history of the island is of the highest importance to us. Every ambassador will tell you how rewarding the program is, as it isn’t just the guest who gains from the experience. Having the opportunity to speak with visitors from all around the world is incredibly enriching, and we are lucky enough to be able to do it through our tours as well. Bahamians have so much love for their country and allowing travelers to experience that same love, is truly precious.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the program or joining us on one of our cuisine and culture tours, get in touch today! We are also offering virtual experiences, which means you don’t need to come to the Bahamas to experience our famous cuisine, culture, and island life.