July 29, 2014
Travel writer Noelle Khalila is spreading her message about the joys of Family Island travel in regional and international publications. Last week, Washington, D.C. travel writer Jeff Barger published an extensive interview with Noelle on his travel website “In Our Times”, sharing Noelle’s perspectives on Bahamian culture and the everyday idiosyncrasies of island living.
From the top three things to do in Nassau and the must try experiences when visiting the islands, to the proper way to eat fish island style, Noelle shares personal stories while delving beyond the beach.
“I’ve travelled quite a bit all around the world, but there was something about the idea of having 700+ unexplored islands in my backyard that just brought me to my roots. That is really the genesis of the Domestic Tourist; I embarked on a mission of self-discovery. The support has been overwhelming, and I think it’s because all Bahamians have this unexpressed desire to discover and explore the islands we call home,” said Noelle.
Earlier this year Noelle traded in her mainstream media job as a journalist and newspaper editor to launch her new travel business. Since then, she has been on the radar of international travel publishers, including the National Geographic Society and Caribbean Beat Magazine. The “In Our Times” travel blog is just the latest industry publication to take note of Noelle’s work.
Last month Noelle also celebrated a major milestone when she secured her first consulting job with National Geographic. The world-renowned travel company contracted Noelle to write online copy for the launch of a new geotourism website featuring the Islands of the Bahamas.
The blue holes of Andros were also spotlighted in Noelle’s May/June cover story for Caribbean Beat magazine, the inflight magazine for Caribbean Airlines.
“I am very blessed to be skilled in a profession that allows me to travel and do what I love. But on a deeper level, the Domestic Tourist allows me to express my refusal to live in a country where we only sell the virtue of travel to tourists. What’s the point if we cannot enjoy the pleasure for ourselves. It is actually psychologically oppressive to see tourists living it up everyday, enjoying the Bahamas more than its own people,” said Noelle.
“The thing is, we have misdirected our energy in many instances. Visitors should want to come here. We have a beautiful country to share. So I say, don't get jealous, get even. Get out there and create your own island adventures. You don't need permission. That’s what I am doing, and thankfully there is a pathway to make a living out of it as well,” she said.
Over the past three years Noelle has slowly made her transition into the travel industry.. Last year she became one of the youngest franchisees in the country, joining the My Destination global franchise and launching the Bahamas online travel guide on the network. Since then, the company has launched mobile applications on all Android and Apple platforms. Businesses can join the My Destination Bahamas network to generate targeted leads from sites following. Through the Domestic Tourist, travel businesses can gain exposure through the travel blog and become vendors for the tour products offered by the company.
At just 29 years old, her portfolio of work far exceeds her age. Not only is she an award winning Bahamian journalist, she is an award winning entrepreneur. In 2009, she was awarded the Prime Minister's Youth Entrepreneurship Award in Jamaica. In addition to her travel brand, Noelle owns a boutique, consulting firm, Q-Tech Communications, which she opened almost eight years ago.
“What people have seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg. It takes time to build a business when you are starting small. But my vision is clear as day and I am grateful for all of the support so far that has been proving the strength of the products and services I have to offer the market,” said Noelle.