Cruise tourism like 'Breezes on a boat'


Obie Wilchcombe


Tribune Business Reporter


NEWLY-appointed tourism minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday the Government plans to meet with Bay Streets merchants to discuss how to increase visitor spend by making downtown Nassau more exciting, with one merchant telling Tribune Business cruise passengers were spending very little money.

According to Perfume Shop owner, Timothy Lightbourne, the cruise visitors who traffic Bay Street are not spending any money. He explained: “The Bahamian part of business is very hopeful. It is the tourist part that isn’t.

“The tourists don’t have any money. You have doubled the amount of cruises available in the last 10 years. There are not enough people to fill them up, so the rates have gone down. You’ve encouraged a different type of person to cruise, and they don’t have any money. It’s all pre-paid, kind of like Sandals and Breezes on a boat.”

Mr Lightbourne added: “Everything is paid for ahead of time, and they just come with a few dollars in their pockets. On top of that there are floating shopping malls now, casinos and hotels. The Caribbean made a mistake 20 years ago when they didn’t limit what cruise ships could do; now the cruise ships own the towns. In Antigua and other places like that, they actually own shopping areas.”

Speaking on the issue, Mr Wilchcombe said: “We will always have that problem because the cruise spend has always been low in the Bahamas. The problem is many of the visitors come here on third stop, and not a first stop, when they are likely to spend that hard currency. So what we have to do is work heavily on our airlift.

“Our job is to get more airlift here so we could have the good balance. We want the cruise passengers because they impact our cab drivers, bus drivers and others, but what we want to do is get the number up on Bay Street.

“Bay Street needs some work, so we are going to be meeting with the Bay Street merchants to talk about what we need to do to make Bay Street exciting, to draw people to Bay Street and to maintain - as well as sustain - the excitement that will cause people to want to spend more money.”

Looking ahead to Mother’s Day, Mr Lightbourne said he expected business to pick up on Friday and Saturday. He added: “The Bahamians won't come out until Friday and Saturday; last minute. Mother’s Day, since my life in the business, has gone more and more into taking Mum out for lunch and going to church with her.

“The buying of lots of things for her has definitely waned over the years, but we will have a good Mother’s Day business because the Bahamians have always been wonderfully faithful to us.”

Collette McKenzie, manager of Brass and Leather on Bay and Charlotte Street, told Tribune Business that sales leading up to Mother's Day were relatively moderate. She said: “There hasn't been any huge spike. There's no big rush right now."

Charmaine Daley, manager at John's Department Store on Carmichael Road, told Tribune Business that she expected trade to pick up today and, particularly, on Saturday.

She said: "We are expecting heavy traffic on Friday and Saturday, as people usually wait until the last minute. We started stocking up our store since early this week."


concerned799 11 years, 2 months ago

If we depermit the cruise ships, visitors will come via air, and airlines will add more flights, and the Bahamas will make more money.

eg. Avg spend is $60 per cruise ship passenger on land now $1000 spend if an overnight traveller

Cruise ships are depermitted, and only 20% visit by hotel.......

$200 to the Bahamas versus $60, and that's with only 20% still coming. Cruise "Economics" works for cruise ship company owners, not a tourism based economy!

Cruise ships fly flags of convineance, and hold no loyalties to any "nation", it is an industry fundamentally opposed to building a strong national, all inclusive economy. It is thus fundamentally at odds with where it would seem to me this economy should go.

If cruise ships were good, then why hasn't Nassau done twice as well, when the ships got twice as big?! Its worse off, as ships got bigger, and more came, all of which proves the essential point above.

concernedcitizen 11 years, 1 month ago

we make about 60 million a year in departure tax / docking fees from the cruise ships ,,

albala 10 years, 1 month ago

If they want Nassau to be a really attraction for tourists, more shops should be opened... When I visited, for instance, I looked for some local hand made urns (I had heard these are somewhat traditional) and, believe me, I couldn't find any tourist shops to sell something like that. I finally bought what I wanted from http://www.urns.com/solid-brass-collect…">http://www.urns.com/solid-brass-collect…, but I think this is something that should be improved in Nassau.

loopkelly 9 years, 4 months ago

The Government must do improvements in every industry to please the customers, not only in this sector. In this direction, people search for quality products, which means that manufacturers must produce superior merchandise. Also, people want to have them immediately after they placed an order, maybe this is why, some big companies decided to sell their products only and to create attractive offers to attract new customers on their online stores. For example, if someone is searching for quality agricultural belts, at http://www.usabelting.com/product-categ…">http://www.usabelting.com/product-categ… he will find a wide range of products.

karina 9 years, 4 months ago

The reason behind this situation is the fact that they did not plan anything before taking the decision to increase the amount of available cruises. They should now do a thorough planning and they should also open outlets to offer souvenirs, scuba diving equipments, http://www.mmimarine.com/mmi/index.php?…">parts for offshore yachts and more such items to encourage the tourists to spend money.

tommglass 9 years, 3 months ago

The tourism minister should be more active to advertise better the country tourist attractions to revive this sector as it should be. Every country has something to offer, but it can be visited only if it has enough publicity to be noticed by the tourists. For instance, the https://www.peopleonholidays.com/">People on Holidays organization offers high quality tours and transportation in the beautiful destinations of the Caribbean area, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica and Bahamas region. You can take their example and start a powerful campaign.

isabella 9 years, 1 month ago

They have a big problem here, if the people are not spending money for the cruise trips then they should consider canceling such packages. However, they could also try to attract the foreign visitors but for that they need to upgrade the quality of their service first. They also need to upgrade their ships, at http://alariobros.com/">http://alariobros.com/ they can find diverse range of high quality marine supplies for this purpose.

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