The Bahama’s Minister of Tourism is upset that cruise passengers are staying on board instead of leaving the ship and spending their money in the Bahamas.
The Minister of Tourism, Dionisio D’Aguilar, said that the Bahamian government had spent up to $12 million a year on incentives which were paid to the cruise lines so that they would drive passengers to visit the Bahamas and spend money there.
However, too many passengers are staying on the ship instead of spending money in the Bahamas. “The cruise companies are very, very profitable,” the Nassau Guardian reported D’Aguilar saying.
“They make a lot of money. Why are we paying them to bring cruise passengers to our port, and then we’re finding that some of them are not coming off?
So why are we giving incentives for people to come to Nassau and sit on the boat, eat their food and not spend money in our country?”
“I think they amounted to about $12 million a year, about $1 million a month, but over the years we have done away with most of the cruise ships and there was one cruise ship company that was left up to June 30, and so we decided to sit back, wait and see if it makes a difference and then review it, but it is not our intention at this time to offer incentives,” D’Aguilar said.
“Why are we paying them to bring cruise passengers to our port and then we’re finding that some of them are not coming off? So why are we giving incentives for people to come to Nassau and sit on the boat, eat their food and not spend money in our country?”
D’Aguilar believes that by providing incentives to the cruise liners based on how many passengers disembark would ultimately cause cruse liners to encourage more passengers to disembark their ships.
The reason why most passengers stay on board the ship is because Nassau and Freeport have very little to offer tourists.
After disembarking from the ship, passengers are heckled by dozens of taxi drivers and third party vendors who are trying to sell you excursions. Nassau itself has very little to do aside from several restaurants and jewelry stores.
But in terms of historical sites and cultural landmarks, there are very few that are easily accessible to tourists docked for a mere 6-8 hours.
As someone who has been on four different cruises to the Bahamas, I see no point in disembarking. I’d rather stay on board the ship where food and beverages are included (if you purchase the drink package like I always do). Atlantis is nice but it is overpriced, especially for a large family.
D’Aguilar’s office is currently accepting bids on a project which he hopes will revamp the experience for passengers. “They should want to come here,” he lamented.
“There should be something wonderful for them to do here … “there will be a better offering of excursions, a better offering of goods, a better offering of food and beverage options” D’Aguilar says.
Source: The Nassau Guardian