By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
BAY Street retailers/merchants suffered up to a 70 per cent business decline yesterday after three cruise ships scheduled to be in port did not call on Nassau due to bad weather.
The store manager of a major luxury retail outlet, who declined to be named, told this newspaper: “Traffic is really quite down here today. Only a few people are downtown; not a lot of people are coming out in these conditions. About 70 per cent of our business comes from the cruise chips.”
Deidre Andrews, marketing consultant for Columbian Emeralds, said: “A lot of our day-to-day business is generated by the cruise ships passengers and the cruise ship industry.
“To have a ‘no cruise ship’ day is basically a low day. Having no ships in port today is going to affect us in terms of our numbers. Not having any ships in today is absolutely going to affect the bottom line.”
Philip King, of Smoker’s Haven, said: “We were expecting about three ships today. Most of my business comes from the cruise ships. If there are no ships in, nothing much is happening. Most businesses downtown rely on the cruise ships.”
Another Bay Street retailer added: “There’s really not a lot of traffic downtown today. We really don’t get that much business from the cruise ships. For some it’s about 60 per cent. We’re less than that, but the traffic is slow downtown nonetheless.”
Janet Johnson, director of maritime tourism, told Tribune Business that the ships had decided not to call on Nassau due to the weather.
“It is my understanding that when the winds are blowing at 25 knots or more, the captain has the discretion as to whether or nor he is going to bring the ship into port. They tried but the winds were just too strong, so they decided to exit,” she said.
The three ships that were expected in port yesterday were the Allure of the Seas, Carnival Conquest and Disney Dream. While not disclosing the potential passenger tax that would have been generated, Mr Johnson noted that the three ships would have collectively carried just under 10,000 cruise visitors.
Four ships are expected to be in port today - The Sensation, The Fantasy, The Majesty of the Seas and the Disney Wonder.
“It just depends on the weather. If this weather falls off tonight then they may be able to come in” said Ms Johnson.