Leggy models in bikinis and staged reality-dating TV shows often provide marketing fodder for the destinations where the photo shoots are staged and the television episodes filmed.

Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue hit the newsstands and splashed onto a giant billboard in Times Square on Feb. 12, just as the Northeast dug out of winter storm Nemo and thoughts turned to warmer days ahead.

This year for the first time, the fashion shoot covered the entire world, as 17 swimsuit models and a cadre of cameramen, photographers, lighting technicians and makeup stylists journeyed to all seven continents seeking perfect backdrops for photos of toned bodies in skimpy bikinis.

Sites included sand dunes in Namibia, horse pastures on Easter Island, the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, rice terraces in China, bullrings in Spain, casinos in Las Vegas and a Bahamian beach in Exuma.

Kate Upton, who beat out the bevy of beauties to earn the coveted Sports Illustrated cover — her second — braved temperatures of minus 49 degrees, clad only in a white unbuttoned fur-lined parka and tasseled bikini bottoms a thousand miles beyond the end of the world in Antarctica.

Grand IsleIcebergs and the ebb and flow of the Antarctic Ocean are in the background of the cover shot, if anyone happens to be looking at anything other than Upton.

Despite being swathed in down-filled sleeping bags between shots, Upton did suffer from the effects of frostbite after returning home.

It remains to be seen if tourism to the icy uninhabited South Pole will surge as a result of the Antarctica publicity, but closer to home, Grand Isle Resort & Spa in Exuma, Bahamas is banking on a visitor boost.

In fact, the resort, which hosted six of the models for a week, already is promoting two Swimsuit Getaway packages in recognition of the fact that all the models sported painted-on swimsuits during their stay.

One package includes a one-bedroom oceanfront villa for $450 per night, one dinner for two, a $50 SeaStar Spa credit per person and a welcome basket. The second package, for four, features a two-bedroom villa at $700 per night and similar inclusions. The booking and travel window is Sept. 15; minimum-stay requirement is three nights.

The photo shoot took place on nearby Exuma Point Beach, a long stretch of pearl-colored sand that acts as a buffer between the Atlantic and the resort.

Bachelor St CroixThe Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is also touting the package on its official website.

While Grand Isle and Exuma pin their hopes on the pinups, another Caribbean destination is confident that exposure on national TV will boost its ratings, as well.

This season of ABC's "The Bachelor" features Sean Lowe on his global quest to find a wife. The search thus far has taken Lowe and his hopefuls to locales from the Canadian Rockies to the Caribbean as he evaluated the ladies, eliminating one per episode in prime time.

The suspense built as Lowe whisked his six soulmates off to St. Croix in a recent episode to further determine who is the one he will spend happily ever after with — or at least that's the show's premise.

St. Croix's legendary, family-run Buccaneer resort hosted the candidates and was featured in many scenes in the two-hour episode, including a one-on-one romantic dinner inside the resort's Sugar Mill restaurant and a moonlight tete-a-tete on Whistle Beach, one of three on the property.

The Buccaneer rolled out its five-night couples package almost before the credits had stopped rolling. Loaded with romantic enticements that include Champagne, lunch on a secluded island, in-room massages and a private dinner, it is priced from $7,250 per couple through April 15 and $5,900 through Dec. 15.

The resort also is participating in the island's Fantastic Flight Promotion through May 31, which offers a $300 airfare credit on stays of six or more nights and includes the last night free.

As for St. Croix itself, the destination came off well as Lowe snorkeled, smooched, swam, shopped, sipped, snacked and snuggled with each of the ladies, traversing the island from one end to another.

"In terms of the impact on our local community, it just offers great exposure," said V.I. Tourism Department spokeswoman Allegra Kean-Moorehead. "This was national television."

Who knows if a wedding and honeymoon are in the cards once Lowe completes his "interviews" and the final rose is handed out?

That's the point. The show has its fan base and along the way, viewers might actually book a trip.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 


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