Categorized | National News


Amid the growing challenge of how to get the millions of cruise ship passengers visiting The Bahamas to spend more money in port, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar  says he is  ready to take on the cruise ship operators.

According to the  Minister some cruise ship officials use their economic strength to force the government’s hand when bargaining deals.

Addressing a Tourism Forum in the Studios of  The Jones Communications Network (JCN), the  Minister said, “we were scared of the cruise companies; they’re very good. When we don’t do what they want us to do,   they pull a boat. And say we pull this boat because that  Minister says  we can’t do this. That’s business right? They’re going to use their economic strength to try and force us to do what they want us to do,  but there are certain things that we forget; certain advantages that we have,” D’Aguilar said.

The Minister insists that the Bahamas has many bargaining advantages.

“First of all, if you look at a map of South Florida; we are the closest place to Miami and Fort Lauderdale and if you’re going to take a three day cruise,  you can’t do that without coming to the Bahamas,”

“Second of all,  we have multiple destinations here and they have invested significant amounts of money in these islands. I think it’s much more important to say ‘if you want to go to that island, you have to come to Nassau,”

“The third thing is there are ninety cruise ships under construction now.  Where are they going to go? I feel that the tide has turned where we are in a stronger position to negotiate a better position than we were 5 to 8 years ago,” D’Aguilar said.

An upcoming sea trade conference with senior cruise ship executives is where the Minister said he will address a number of issues.

The meetings will include talks about the intention to privatize the Prince George Dock.

” I believe that in much the same way that NAD manages the Lynden Pindling International Airport,  we need an entity to manage the Prince George dock to remove the chaos from down there, to make it a pleasant experience. You watch the thousands of passengers come off those cruise ships and you watch what they go through to get from their boat through the gate and to Bay street, a lot of them turn around and go back. They’re saying why should I put up with this,” D’Aguilar  said.

Cruise ship passengers ratings of Caribbean destinations lands the Bahamas in the top 10 which the Minister said is a major advantage.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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