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The Bahamas have long been a popular destination for tourists who want guaranteed sun and a sense of luxury. The holiday experience is set to become even better, with the opening of a new terminal at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, situated in Nassau. Although the renovations to the airport are not yet fully complete, there will eventually be the capacity to deal with an extra 2 million passengers a year, making a staggering 5 million visitors going through each year. This increase is set to be good news for the island, which relies on tourism to generate as much as 75% of its GDP.

The islands of the Bahamas are scattered over 1,500 square miles of the Caribbean Sea, but each of the 16 main islands retains its own individual character. The culture is a vibrant and colourful one, with an emphasis on joyful expression, exuberant dancing and infectious music. The carnival atmosphere is no more apparent than during the Junkanoo party parades, which take place across the islands. The festival is traditionally held over the Christmas and New Year periods, but has proved so popular that a summer festival has also been introduced.

Visitors to the islands can take part in just about every water sport imaginable and with crystal clear waters surrounding the islands, it's not hard to see the attraction. The third largest barrier reef system in the world is situated here and there is the opportunity to swim with dolphins, shoals of fish and giant manta rays. Should you wish to take a more relaxed approach, there are hundreds of beautiful sandy beaches on which to relax and take in the view.

Island hopping is becoming more popular, with visitors deciding to visit each island in turn rather than basing themselves on just one. With 700 islands to choose from, there is a different character to each one. Shopping and a bustling nightlife are available on Nassau and Paradise Island, whereas Harbour Island provides a more relaxed way of life. Pink sand beaches and caves are ready to be explored on Eleuthera and fishermen will love the game fishing to be found on Bimini.

With a whole host of different places to stay, there is accommodation to suit everyone. Small boutique hotels, large chain resorts and exclusive, romantic hideaways are dotted throughout the islands. It's even possible to rent whole islands, where the luxury is unimaginable and the privacy is guaranteed.

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