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Charity event gives Eleuthera economic boost

‘Entire island’ benefits from visit by hundreds of cyclists
Guardian Business Editor

Published: Oct 29, 2013

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The participation of up to 450 cyclists in the Ride for Hope on Eleuthera in a typically quiet part of the tourism season is being credited with boosting “the entire island” over the past weekend, filling resorts and creating business for businesses from car rentals to food vendors.

The Ride for Hope, a charitable “bike-a-thon”, took place in October, a typically low season for tourism in The Bahamas, rather than April, as it traditionally has in previous years.

Participants attempt to cycle up to 100 miles across Eleuthera in aid of cancer treatment.

According to Juanita Pinder, president of the Cancer Society of Eleuthera, 450 individuals registered to participate in the ride.  Most arrived by plane on Friday evening or via the Bahamas Ferries Bo Hengy service on Saturday morning.

Fredericka Johnson, front desk assistant at the 19-room Cigatoo resort said: “It impacted us very well.  All of our rooms were full.  And they ate breakfast and lunch at the Buccaneer restaurant and bar which is owned by the same company.  It was great.

“The island is very quiet right now but It boosted the entire island because they went from north to south.  There were so many people out on the road, and everything went well.

“We have people off and on during this period, but basically it’s very quiet.  Today we only have two rooms booked, because our season will start November.”

T.J. Johnson, reservations manager at Pineapple Fields, said the 32-condo property was also booked out for the weekend.

“We had a full hotel.  It was full this year, and it was full last year.  The island was pretty busy,” said Johnson.

Pinder added: “I think a lot of the hotels were booked out, and people with rental cars.  We normally outsource the food, feeding the participants with the local food vendors, and each rider is given a little stipend - a $10 meal voucher accepted by the food vendors on the park - so I think that definitely would’ve made a difference with people who sell food around.  It’s a good thing that I’m sure has a positive impact on business on the island.”

Pinder noted that attendance may have been diminished by the poor weather on Friday, but Saturday’s ride went ahead without any rain to deter the riders.

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