A 156% increase in Nassau stopovers by a single cruise line has the potential to generate more than $ 52 million in boost to the Bahamian economy in 2022, the cruise port’s top executive revealed yesterday from Nassau.
Michael Maura told Tribune Business that the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) plans to expand its calls in Nassau from 45 in 2019 to 115 in 2022 – an increase of 70 – will bring 350,000 additional passengers to the capital of the Bahamas on the basis of all ships carrying 5,000 people. .
Using data from the Tourism Department suggesting that cruise passengers spend $ 100 per person in Nassau, he said the additional arrivals from MSC alone would generate a $ 35 million increase in visitor spending injected into the local economy in the country. benefit of businesses / employees who depend on the sector for their livelihoods.
And, if the cruise port of Nassau succeeded in increasing the per capita spending of cruise passengers by an additional $ 50 per person through its $ 250 million transformation at Prince George Wharf, Mr Maura added that the total spending of the 350,000 MSC’s additional passengers could reach $ 52.5 million.
Describing this as a “huge impact,” the head of the Nassau cruise port said MSC was not increasing its stopovers in Nassau beyond pre-COVID levels. He revealed that Royal Caribbean had 451 “recorded” calls for 2022, which is a 17.4% increase from the 384 arrivals Nassau saw in 2019 before the pandemic.
Using the same formula that Mr Maura used with MSC, that would translate to 335,000 additional passengers and additional spending of $ 33.5 to $ 50.25 million in the Bahamas. “MSC made 45 calls with us in 2019 and in 2022 we recorded them for 115 calls. This is the most significant increase, ”Maura told this newspaper.
“Another big increase we have is with Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean in 2019 made 384 stopovers with us, then in 2022 we have 451. That’s huge. That’s a huge impact considering we have 70 more calls from MSC and you consider that by 2022 their ships could have 5,000 passengers on board again.
“Seventy calls multiplied by 5,000, that’s 350,000 passengers and new visitors. The Tourism Department has consistently reported that Nassau benefited from $ 100 in spending per passenger. We are working very hard to improve and expand our port offering at Nassau Cruise Port through the investments we are making in restaurant, retail and tourism experiences, ”he continued.
“If we take the $ 100 expense figure given, that’s an additional $ 35 million, and if we get a 50% increase in passenger spending due to the new investments underway on the Nassau waterfront, and per capita spending drops from $ 100 to $ 150, just with the MSC passengers alone, you’ll see over $ 50 million in additional spending in the local economy. It is an important matter; A big deal.”
Mr Maura said total cruise bookings for Nassau in 2022 were already 11.1% higher than in 2019, the last full year before COVID. “In 2019, we had a total of 1,206 calls, and in 2022, we currently have 1,340 calls in the logs,” he added.
And Mr Maura said the port was waiting for more than the 50 stopovers suggested by Dr Hubert Minnis for this September. “It will be more than that. We have had 29 ships so far. Given that we have had 29 ships and we are halfway through the month, it will be closer to 60, ”he said.
“I think from a business perspective of Bay Street it has improved. There is certainly a positive trend. It is not yet enough … We see tourists walking in town, we tourists in shops. We have a long way to go to get back to the pre-pandemic period, but passenger volumes are on the rise and we are seeing more ships. “
Mr Maura said cruise ship stopovers in Nassau since June 2021 have come from just three lines – Royal Caribbean, Carnival and MSC. Disney and Norwegian Cruise Line will return next month, while Virgin Voyages will arrive in November.
Regarding the ongoing redevelopment of Prince George Wharf, the head of the Nassau cruise port said he will reveal today to all bidders who have successfully secured the six new retail spaces that will be put available in the new facility.
And those who have submitted proposals for the five new food and beverage sites will also be notified if they have been selected “in the coming weeks.” Open bidding / tendering processes were involved, with retail bidders participating in a concept request and food and beverage candidates participating in a request for proposal (RFP).
Without revealing the number of bidders or their identities, Mr Maura added that the 50 ‘inherited tenants’ of Prince George Wharf in the retail, food and beverage areas will return to the cruise port once there. space allocated to them.
“One area where we really want to move forward is identifying new authentic Bahamian products. We will therefore contact the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) to get an updated inventory of local artisans and small manufacturers who can produce items that are very unique to the Bahamas that can be displayed and sold in our new commercial space ”, a- he explained.
“We encourage local manufacturers and artisans to email us photos of their products to [email protected] We want to start by looking at these new ideas and products that can be sold through Bahamian merchants who have successfully acquired these retail spaces at the Nassau Cruise Port.
“We have the 50 old tenants with a mix of retail, food and beverage traders. Some of them are currently operating temporarily from Rawson Square. Once we complete their retail space, they will move out of Rawson Square and move into the new retail or catering space at Nassau Cruise Port called Marketplace.
Mr Maura said the difference between the six new retail spaces and those of previous tenants was size. These will receive spaces measuring between 10 feet and 15 feet, or 150 square feet in total, while the six new retail locations will be between 450 square feet and 700 square feet.
“They are intended for operators who have greater production or distribution capacity because the square footage is higher, and the production network to keep products on display and not be out of stock,” added M Maura. “The five beverage outlets are expected to be quite unique. These are not fast food franchises. It is something special.
The cruise port of Nassau is also “very comfortable and confident” that its maritime works will be completed by early December 2021, with its northeast berth – berth six – enlarged enough to accommodate the largest class of ships existing cruise ship, Oasis ships. Six cruise ships will then be in port.
“Our work in the highlands is progressing,” said Maura, the new cruise arrivals terminal due to open next month. This building will house Nassau cruise port staff, customs, immigration and port staff, as well as a doctor’s office and space for medical examinations.
Construction of the Junkanoo Museum and Cruise Port Cultural Experience will also begin next month, with the aim of completing this facility and the arrivals terminal at the same time. Dredging is now complete and associated backfill is transported to the west side of the project to complete the reclamation of the seabed that will support the amphitheater, west marina, and new retail and catering options.