Travel writer uses international platform to promote Family Island travel

Noelle Khalila Nicolls News

One hundred Family Island properties and 44 off the grid or underrated local companies made the cut for hot spots in the Bahamas for a leading international travel publishing company, Travel + Leisure. The magazine recently appointed award winning Bahamian Journalist Noelle Khalila, The Domestic Tourist, as its local expert. Noelle produced a series of top five lists for the magazine’s online campaign.

Over the past year, Noelle Khalila has been solidifying her mark as a travel writer with her island hopping travel blog, The Domestic Tourist. She was published in Caribbean Beat magazine, on the National Geographic Bahamas Geotourism website and by the North Carolina based company, Northstar Travel Media. Her recent gig with Travel + Leisure magazine, as the local Bahamas expert, is the latest of her accomplishments as a travel writer.

“It’s a privilege to be affiliated with one of the most influential travel brands in the world. Travel + Leisure has a remarkable history of readership with more than 5 million readers worldwide. Online they have over 1 million followers on twitter and nearly that on Facebook,” said Noelle Khalila.

“When I set out to create the Domestic Tourist, I had a simple vision to be a champion of a locally inspired travel. I wanted to promote a bigger vision of the Bahamas that went beyond the confines of New Providence and the boundaries of sun, sand and sea. To have a platform on Travel + Leisure to advance that vision is a privilege,” she said.

In her series of articles on the Travel + Leisure website, Noelle gives snippets on 180 different travel related business in hot lists ranging from the best local tours, to best boutique resorts and best places to buy souvenirs. The first 14 articles went live on the site this month.

“I really made deliberate effort to include a range of properties, including some well-established business and ones that are hardly known. I also included some places I love that are simply not mainstream in the tourism circuit. Each one of the 16 major islands are represented on the lists. They are very subjective, as they are my personal hot lists, so I expect people to have different opinions, but I think they accomplish my main objective, to give exposure to the Family Islands,” said Noelle Khalila.

The top five picks showcase the best places to eat and bar hop, the best luxury and romantic resorts and best places to hear live music in the various islands. Of the 180 listings, there are only 12 duplicated entries. Every island has at least one mention, and overall, only 44% of the listings are New Providence based businesses.

Noelle Khalila was also successful in her bid to have the Bahamas included in Travel + Leisure’s best places to travel in 2015. The magazine’s end of year online feature includes Noelle’s 2015 Bahamas outlook for travellers.

“On a personal and professional level I have been so rewarded since creating The Domestic Tourist. It was first about self-discovery and now it is all about sharing those joys I experienced in the islands. In 2015 we are shifting gears from simply writing about travel to rolling out a set of business services and products that facilitate others in creating their own experiences,” said Noelle.

“We are going to do everything in our power to cause Bahamians to take a second look at the Family Islands and help to make the islands more accessible to domestic and international visitors alike. It’s a big task, but bit by bit we are helping to create more #travelchamps of locally inspired travel,” she said.