It may soon cost more to cruise to the Bahamas for cruise lines due to an order from the government. Currently, it is being reported that the government will no longer incentivize cruise ship companies to dock in The Bahamas, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar revealed yesterday. “In the past, we used to provide incentives for cruise passengers to come here; but to be quite honest with you, we were paying for a lot of people who didn’t come off the boat. So we scrapped all those incentives, we don’t have any incentives anymore; we’re not paying any cruise line to bring any passengers here,” he told reporters outside the Churchill Building yesterday. D’Aguilar said if a decision is made to provide incentives to cruise ships, it would be more of a rebate to cruise companies that is dependent on how many passengers disembark from their ships.
D’Aguilar said The Bahamas’ concern is less about getting bodies to the port, and more about providing better experiences for cruise passengers when they visit. “They should want to come here. There should be something wonderful for them to do here. If you think about it, God has geographically blessed The Bahamas. We are the closest port to the largest cruise ports in the world – Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Cape Canaveral. So if you’re going to go on a three-day cruise, you’re coming to Nassau or Freeport… this is where people want to come, we just have to make it a wonderful place for them to visit and make it memorable so that they want to come back here and it refreshes itself,” he said.
“As you know a number of cruise ports have been damaged from hurricanes and there is a lot of reconstruction and upgrades going on throughout the Caribbean.” “… so we need to adjust and accommodate and improve most importantly the customer experience here at the port and provide additional opportunities for small businesses to make a decent living at that port,” he said. “… The goal is once this transformation has taken place, there will be a better offering of excursions, a better offering of goods, a better offering of food and beverage options, the cruise passengers will be minded – not only the cruise passengers but also the crew – will be minded to come off the ships and spend more money in the port. So, I’m very excited that this process has started and we’ll see what happens.”
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Information source Paige McCartney (2018) ‘No More Incentives for Cruise Ships’ The Nassau Guardian October 17