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Nassau ranks low on visitor satisfaction

ROYAL Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley.

ROYAL Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune News Editor

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ROYAL Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said Nassau ranks in the bottom ten per cent of destinations customers are satisfied with, creating demand for projects like the proposed Paradise Island Royal Beach Club that appeal to cruise ship visitors.

 His comment came during an interview with The Tribune yesterday about the proposed project.

“Nassau is in the bottom ten per cent,” he said. “Coco Cay is the number one destination that Royal Caribbean goes to in the world out of 100 global destinations because it’s a curated experience designed and built to deliver a high-level experience to the customer. At the end of the day that’s all that matters.”

“We want to improve the experience of our guests. We can’t keep selling experiences to people who say we love going to Perfect Day, it’s fantastic, we want to go back, but the Nassau thing, can you guys stop going there? We can’t do that, so yeah, we want to be a part of the solution.”

Mr Bayley said customer satisfaction surveys reveal guests find Nassau “tired.”

“They’ve come here many times before and there’s nothing new, fresh or innovative. Secondly, there needs to be more product, more experience, more uniqueness, more options,” he said.

When Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis announced his administration approved RCI’s Paradise Island project subject to environmental evaluations, critics said the project would divert guests from Downtown to Paradise Island, hurting local businesses.

Mr Bayley said this highlights the need to improve Nassau.

“We run a cruise-line,” he said. “We’re the largest cruise-line in the world. Part of what we do is relentlessly focus on delivering a great customer experience. We get data from every single cruise every single time from every single customer. If one person says they don’t like something, fine. When we look at the trend data and we see that a lot of people are not enjoying their experiences, what do we do? We change it. We renew it. We invigorate it to try to remove obstacles to their satisfaction.

“If you look at the data from all the customers on Nassau, maybe we’ll see that 70 per cent of the customers say well, you know, the streets are dirty. Well, if that’s true, then why don’t we clean the streets? That removes 70 per cent of the obstacle (and it) doesn’t cause a lot of money.”

 Mr Bayley said without its Perfect Day at CocoCay offering, the cruise line might struggle to maintain high visitor numbers.

 “If we were just going to Nassau, and not going to Perfect Day, we would have an issue,” he said. “When you package Perfect Day with Nassau, people accept it. It’s like you may not want the risotto but you want the fish; it’s the deal. It’s what you get.”

 Mr Bayley said stakeholders should collaborate as part of a formal team to create and execute a master plan for Nassau.

“(On Wednesday) we met with Graeme, the president of Baha Mar (and) we talked about this and I’ve had other discussions over the years with different individuals over the years, including the government,” he said. “My proposal is that we form a team of stakeholders and concerned individuals and that team, why don’t we start making a vision, a master plan for the future, for the tourism sector, and execute a plan? It’s the vision that needs to come from The Bahamas, and that vision then needs to be methodically executed.

“Part of the execution of that plan has to be capital. Nothing is going to change without an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and I think if you bring the right tourist sector group together, many of these corporations have access to huge capital funds and if there’s a plan that we could really all would together to create, many of these projects could be funded.” 

Comments

SP 10 months, 2 weeks ago

ROYAL Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley acknowledgment that Nassau ranks in the bottom ten percent of destinations customers are satisfied with is an ongoing serious issue that has plagued Nassau as a destination since an early 1980s airport exit survey revealed that the single biggest complaint of visitors was "a lack of things to do in Nassau"!

Along with other veteran tourism professionals, I have been advocating right here with EVERY ADMINISTRATION for decades to focus on improving our dwindling tourism product without an ounce of success.

Obviously, successive governments have absolutely no idea what they are doing with tourism and are only interested in "optics" when it comes to our number one industry!

In fact, we have consistently gone backward for the last 5 decades. The sole reason the Bahamas succeeds as a tourism destination is because of our proximity to 400 million North Americans and very little to do with marketing and promotions.

One fact that the government seems unable to comprehend is the importance of entertainment and quality attractions. There is more entertainment in a few city blocks of our main regional competitors like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico than there is in the entire Bahamas!

Adding insult to injury, with the new healthy increase in cruise and air visitors, it is inevitable the Bahamas will expeditiously continue the downward spiral of dissatisfied tourists due to the higher volumes of dissatisfaction.

That said. The ROYAL Caribbean International Paradise Island, Coco Cay, developments, and all others should be 49% owned by Bahamians to allow our people to create the necessary income to invest in diversified attractions throughout the country.

We must get rid of special interest ownership of our tourism product if we intend on developing a diversified, well-rounded tourism product that benefits the Bahamas and Bahamians.

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Emilio26 10 months, 2 weeks ago

SP I remember a few years ago when Graham Weatherford and Jeffrey R. Davis mentioned the same you said on a Guardian Radio Talkshow political trolls from the FNM and PLP criticized and mocked their ideas.

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bahamianson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nassau ranks low, is a euphemism. Nassau is a boring , crime ridden , dirty and nasty place. It is my home. Unfortunately, I cannot paint the buildings, sweep the roads, remove the scrubs and provide activity for citizens or tourist alike. Take pride in our town!

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SP 10 months, 2 weeks ago

All of what you say is the responsibility of the government as leaders. They have simply failed!

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SP 10 months, 2 weeks ago

@ Emilio26.....This is the main problem. Both PLP and FNM governments have absolutely no knowledge of tourism and are too busy playing "politrics" to accomplish anything tangible for the sector!

Successive governments have appointed Minister's of tourism with 0% actual knowledge of tourism. These Ministers then appoint political trolls to lead, decision-making positions (like Dr. Whats his face now) and our tourism product continue backsliding.

The government's focus is misdirected on the "hotel experience". However, no one travels to sit inside a hotel 24/7. People travel to experience foreign destinations and cultures.

Our leaders are 100% off course and have not an iota of a clue what they should be focusing on for the Bahamas as a destination in the very competitive business of resort travel!

The government needs to be made to understand the importance of improving our tourism product, focusing firstly on the quality of what we do have and rapidly increasing daytime and nighttime entertainment opportunities.

For example, daily hundreds of tourists visit the West Street Bay Caves. Firstly, the "caves" are no more than a small hole in the ground to start with, and secondly, and most egregious the caves are not maintained! Beachgoers from across the street use the caves as toilets. It is a disgusting "very popular attraction." This sort of lack of quality is due to inept management by the government.

Somehow, we need to get the government to realize that 5 decades of "talking tourism" has failed miserably, and we are about to become the worst destination on the market as the ever-increasing arrivals document their dissatisfaction with the Bahamas as a destination.

Why they are incapable of simply copying, Cuba, Bermuda, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Cayman Islands is the biggest mystery of all time.

The government is totally oblivious that we have been in deep trouble for decades and it will only get worst with higher volumes of tourists!

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rosiepi 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Is this supposed to be news?? Nassau killed it’s own golden goose decades ago, now tell us who really benefits from the building of this costly port?? Cause it ain’t Bahamians!!

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