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Bahamas, Carnival partner on new cruise port

Published:Thursday | May 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister of Bahamas, Perry Christie.

The Bahamian government has signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines for the construction of a cruise port and comple-mentary landside project in Eastern Grand Bahama that Prime Minister Perry Christie said would stir economic activity.

"Carnival has agreed to engage Bahamians in every aspect of construction and development of the new cruise port, valued at US$100 million, with added emphasis on Bahamian partici-pation in the supply and sales of products and services, including retail, entertainment, art and craft, food production, sports and fitness," Christie said at the signing ceremony.

"Its shore project will create a new 'destination' with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepre-neurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the develop-ment of Grand Bahama as a viable tourist centre".

The PM said Carnival Cruise has also agreed to provide employment to qualified Bahamians as crew members on board its cruise ships, with positions commensurate to their qualifications and certifications, while pointing out that the liner currently commands a 60 per cent share of the global cruise industry market totalling 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," Christie said. "In 2017, international cruise lines offered cruise ports on a total of seven private islands, and The Bahamas, as an archipelago, is ideally suited and positioned to capture the lion's share of this business and capitalise 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 entrepre-neurs operating at the new port will need to draw on

wide range of local vendors such as subcontractors, architects, landscapers, tradesmen, technicians, security, marine specialists, retail workers and other service specialists," the PM said.