By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMIAN retailers yesterday called for a more “positive partnership” with the cruise industry, with one executive saying it is a “shame” that passengers are being discouraged from spending locally.
Tara Nolan, a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) director, and co-chair of the Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR), told Tribune Business: “Unfortunately cruise passengers are really encouraged to spend money on the ship. They are not encouraged, especially in the Nassau port, to even bring their wallets off the ship, much less get off the ship at all.
“Sometimes they are told it’s unsafe to get off the ship. We have customers that wander into our store and are shocked to find there is such a nice retail establishment in downtown Nassau because they are not informed. That is a shame, not only for the local businesses, but it is also a shame for the cruise passenger who will not experience all the things that Nassau has to offer.”
Ms Nolan said downtown Nassau has been in “desperate need” of a facelift for many years, noting that cruise port proposals by the likes of Global Ports Holding could transform the area to the benefit of local retailers.
“Downtown Nassau has been in desperate need of a beautification for years,” she agreed. “Retailers have been crying out for this investment for ages now. We really haven’t seen the attention from successive governments that we have needed to really transform this space and make it a desirable location.
“We need a positive partnership with the cruise ship industry in a way which allows for Bahamian to get more of the economic benefits.”
Colin Murphy, Global Ports Holding’s head of business development for the Americas, said has committed to only including already-established Bahamian retailers in its port retail offering. “In terms of retail, the typical sort of model for ports is a car park, a place to park the ships and shops,” he added.
“We have committed that we won’t be adding big international retailers in our port, and the retail will be limited to people who operate there currently. We don’t want to step on anyone’s toes outside of the port. Part of our proposal is also to bring in trainers to help the small guys, the handicraft people, and to help them understand the retail business better.”