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Minister Admits: ‘We’Ve Got Cruise Numbers, Not Spend’

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Obie Wilchcombe

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

MORE opportunities need to be created to drive cruise visitor spending, the minister of tourism yesterday acknowledging: “We are getting the visitor numbers but not the spend”.

Noting a recent report by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), which revealed that the average cruise visitor spend in the Bahamas had slumped by 23 per cent over the last three years, Obie Wilchcombe said: “We get the visitor numbers but we don’t get the spend. We have to look at what happens.

“What is interesting is that when the port of Nassau was created, the-then Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, said this would be a duty-free area to get the spend up because it’s always been an issue.

“Now it is the challenge for me to go for greater spend. I’m very pleased about the numbers, but I want greater spend - not only in the capital but also in Grand Bahama and the other islands and cays, because we can create the connection.”

The FCCA’s Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism, released this week, indicates that while per passenger spending yields have dropped between 2009 and 2012, falling from $83.93 to $64.81, this has been more than offset by an increase in visitor numbers (volumes).

The 22.8 per cent decline in per capita cruise passenger spending in the Bahamas is the largest in the Caribbean region over the past three years, bar the US Virgin Islands. Other nations have seen double digit increases in the yields, including a 60 per cent increase in the Dominican Republic.

“I read the report and I understand  what they are saying. What I do like is that the crews are spending more money, which means that they are becoming more familiar and want to spend more in the community,” said Mr Wilchcombe.

According to the FCCA report, crew visiting the Bahamas spent an estimated $79.3 million, the highest level of crew expenditures among the 21 participating destinations.

A total of 714,600 crew were estimated to have made an onshore visit during the 2011-2012 cruise year, the highest number of visits among the 21 participating destinations. Crew spent an average of $111 per visit, the fourth highest average.

Crew expenditures were concentrated in entertainment venues and restaurants and bars, which accounted for nearly 70 per cent of their spending in the Bahamas.

“We have to make sure that our vendors be much more productive, our product has to be at a higher level and we have to provide what the passengers want. We just need to create the opportunity, whether it’s more Bahamian goods, more cultural events or whether we cause for some products to be duty free,” said Mr Wilchcombe.

Comments

TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

Comrade minister of da Tourists, ya government's solutions is so simple. 'Nationalize' all the American fast food franchise outlets, cause even the Hotel's eateries is empty of guests ......they all heading over to Ronald McDonald, Colonial Saunder's and the rest them franchises.

Minister that's what you get when you spend millions of dollars to attract Mr. & Mrs. Vacationing Cheapos to Bahamaland.

I ain't know why some enterprising native is not selling pretty little bottles cooking oil to them 'unsuspecting' tourists, as Bahamaland's Own Suntan Oil?

if it was me, I'd put on a fancy tropical-looking label, that it has we Bahamaland's own 'Secret Healing Powers Oils' in we formula ... proven to be a sure-cure for ya cheap asses, arthritis pains.

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by TalRussell

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exuma1959 7 years, 8 months ago

This is nothing new......... It is just that nobody wanted to listen to the small business person..... The Government has made it next to impossible for the Small business person to operate.. The Rents on Bay street is ridiculous... The tourist are stuck in the BAY STREET QUADRANT.....and there is nothing for them to spend their money on. Those who do visit, choose not to disembark of the ship.... then you have the ships who get in around 11am and leave at 5pm The newer ones arrive at 6am and leave at 2pm.... The Passengers never have enough time to shop or spend any money..... The BUSES take them to Atlantis and various day attractions (which is prepaid for on the ship) and there they spend three to five hours.. and they return them back to the Ships So it is not a shopping trip for our tourist and to add insult to injury ,those who do venture out , Are instructed to stay clear away from places like the Straw Market............ If they need incidentals ,they buy it on the ship. "THE POINT IS .WE AS A COUNTRY IS NOT "SHOPPER FRIENDLY" ANYMORE Studies show that TOURIST spend more money at night between the hours of 5pm to 1am At five pm in the Bahamas , the entire town is shut down...... At six pm in the Bahamas ,the Harbor is empty........

Mr Minister of Tourism we are getting the ca ca end of the stick............ the facts are there , we don't need a rocket to scientist to figure this one out.....

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TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

Comrade Exuma1959 neither the PLP or the red shirts seem to understand that the cruise ships are advising their guests NOT to venture off the ship, unless under an organized tour ... much less with them to park their ships at the docks overnight, allowing tourists off the ship to roam our crime infested, murderous Bahamaland.

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by TalRussell

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 8 months ago

"we have to make sure that our vendors be much more productive " ,,now our MPs can not speak proper english .?? I heard someone on the news last night representing the gov , talking about navel strings as a way of saying where they desended from ..Geez ..There is no navel string its an imbilicule cord ..We are going backward .....

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irolle2012 7 years, 8 months ago

The cruise lines have been getting away with too much for far too long. They control what tours are sold on their ships and for what price. They also went as far as copying all of the local tours and duplicating them on their private islands. Then they set the prices in Nassau and Freeport higher then their tours on their private islands. To add more salt to the wound, then the cruise lines come back to the local operators demanding new tours. When the local operators cannot comply the cruise lines go to the government and say that there is nothing to do or there are no quality local tours. The MOT takes their word for it because they are either too lazy or too ignorant to check the facts. About 8 years ago a few local operators got together to fight for equality. They got no support from the government and got picked off by the cruise lines one by one. I used to work for one of those companies. Out of all the original local tour companies, only a handful are still here. The rest have either closed down on their own were were put out of business by the cruise line. On top of the issues with the cruise lines, the local operators have to compete with foreigners comming in with Bahamians fronting for them. All of this privy and under the eye of the government.

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 8 months ago

i say lets crank up the anti foriegn rhetoric to make the masses feel better and secure there votes ..really us bahamians are too special to even have those wicked foriegners amongts us .lets not let foriegners invest or even visit our pure shores ,,PGC whip sandals and CWC some more ,the masses love it ,,,,,,,,,,lmao

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 8 months ago

how can a country expect to survive when 90% of our income comes from foriegners ,but to secure votes and feed our insecurities we constantly put them down .....

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