NASSAU, Bahamas, May 3, CMC – The Bahamas government has signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines for the construction of a multi-million dollar cruise port and destination in Eastern Grand Bahama that Prime Minister Perry Christie said would stir economic activities in the country.
“Carnival has agreed to engage Bahamians in every aspect of construction and development of the new cruise port, valued at US$100 million dollars, with added emphasis on Bahamian participation in the supply and sales of products and services, including retail, entertainment, art & craft, food production, sports and fitness,” Christie told the ceremony.
He said the new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, “its Shore Project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama, as a viable tourist centre”.
He said in addition, Carnival has also agreed to provide employment to qualified Bahamians as crew members on board the corporation’s cruise ships, with positions commensurate to their qualifications and certifications.
Christie said that Carnival currently commands 60 per cent of the global cruise industry of 24 million passengers of which 12 million originate from the United States and Canada.
“Not only is passenger growth on the rise, the industry is diversifying – moving from mere distribution to development of new destinations to retain strong market share and industry capture.
“In 2017 international cruise lines offered cruise ports on a total of seven (7) private islands and The Bahamas, as an archipelago, is ideally suited and positioned to capture the lion’s share of this business and capitalize on its economic benefits.”
Christie said that the new cruise port development will encompass multiple projects inclusive of construction of the channel, docks, water taxi and work boat piers, berthing platforms, seawalls and turning basin to accommodate two super post Panamex Ships.
He said the expansive Shore Project will comprise a 20-bed hotel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, restaurants, food and beverage pavilions, shops, nightclubs, amphitheatre, aquatic and other recreational and sporting facilities as well as pedestrian and cycling trails. There will also be interactive amenities, such as stingray and dolphin encounters, animal exhibitions and petting zoo.
“The projected impact of Carnival’s cruise port on employment cannot be overstated. Bahamian entrepreneurs operating at the new port will need to draw on wide range of local vendors such as sub-contractors, architects, landscapers, tradesmen, technicians, security, marine specialists, retail workers and other service specialists.
“We are nearing completion on a number of other initiatives that will bring stability and economic certainty to the lives of Grand Bahama’s residents and will enable its current and potential investors to view Grand Bahama with confidence,” Christie added.