Trouble in cruise paradise

There may be trouble ahead in cruise paradise as the Government of the Bahamas is targeting a near-28 per cent increase in cruise passenger spending yields to generate an extra $90 million in annual tourism revenue.

During a recent speach Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minster of Tourism for the Bahamas, vowed to “get tough” with cruise lines and “change the way we do business” to ensure their passengers spend more in the Bahamas with local firms.

According to Mr. D’Aguilar 70 per cent of the Bahamas’ six million-plus annual visitors are cruise passengers who spend an average of $70 – in comparison to Aruba and St Marten who generate cruise passenger spending in the range of $180-$190 per person – while stopover visitors spend an average of $1,500.

“In the short-term we are aiming to induce our cruise ship visitors to spend $20 more within our destination. The average spend right now is about $70 per person, and we want to get it to $90. This near-28 per cent increase in cruise spend will net $90 million in additional revenue. In tandem with increasing cruise visitor spend, we are working to get as many cruise visitors as we can to become return stopover visitors.”

– Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism

Mr. D’Aguilar will seek to negotiate with the cruise lines and intends to use the cruise line’s private islands as leverage – “We have something they need, which is those islands” – to extract more favorable terms for locals and their businesses.

“Get ready when I get tough with them and they threaten to pull their ships. We have to get tough with them in order to change the way they see us and do business with us.”

– Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism

This second fall-out between the Minister and the cruise industry follows Norwegian Cruise Line’s recent demand that Bahamian shore excursion providers stop selling tours directly to passengers or risk having their contracts terminated.

 

Source: tribune242

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