By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
CARNIVAL Cruise Lines is working with the Bahamian authorities to enhance visitor security its chief executive recently confirmed, adding that it also had concerns about Value-Added Tax’s (VAT) implementation.
Arnold Donald, Carnival’s president and chief executive, told Tribune Business that the Miami-based cruise operator was giving the Bahamas input on ways that security could be enhanced for its cruise visitors. Carnival has issued crime warnings to passengers disembarking in Nassau in the past.
“It’s really important, obviously, for guests to feel comfortable wherever they visit. They are interested in a different cultural experience than they’re familiar with, but they do need to feel safe,” Mr Donald said.
“In general, the Bahamas is safe. Anything that the Government can do, and the local citizenry can do, to have that feeling be prevalent in the places the tourists go is the right thing to do.
“It will attract more tourists to come, encourage them to stay longer, to come ashore, spend more time in the shops, the restaurants and other entertainment venues. Anything that can be done there is really important.
“I do know we have our people working here with the authorities here in the Bahamas to make certain that we do give input on any areas where we see there could be enhancements.”
As to how security could be enhanced, Mr Donald said: “Clearly, the obvious things are lots of patrols, lots of attention being paid. Obviously re-educate the guests as well. They can go anywhere in the world and have incidents happen, but you don’t want to have a reputation of having incidents happen.
“They have to be one-off and rare. I think, historically, that’s where it’s been and where we would like to see it stay.”
With a revamp of the Nassau cruise port being considered by the Government, Mr Donald said it was vital to exceed guest expectations. “We would encourage anything to enhance the port experience,” he added.
“We are also willing to work with the Government and private entities, for that matter, in developing the port experience. It is critically important to exceed guest expectations. Anything that enhances the port experience is a real positive towards that, and continuing to build what is already an exceptional tourism industry in the Bahamas.”
Mr Donald added that Carnival had some concerns about VAT and its potential impact on the cruise tourism industry, but he expressed hope it would be implemented in a manner that had minimal impact.