The Bahamas can boast a recent cruise upturn, according to a speech made by the islands’ Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the initial visit to Nassau by the megaship Oasis of the Seas, Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace gave assurance to journalists that there had been a significant increase in passenger numbers in the first three months of 2009 compared to a similar period in 2008.
‘We don’t talk very much about our business in terms of counting cruise passengers but I assure you that for the first three months of the year in the Port of Nassau, we have received more than 120,000 cruise passengers in the Port of Nassau alone compared to last year, something of the order to 28 per cent,’ he said.
The minister commented on the cross-industry effects that cruise business brought to a destination, from hair braiders and shopkeepers to taxi drivers and straw vendors.
The minister, however, did not release figures for the subsequent second and third quarters of 2009.
The Bahamas has recently experienced high-profile criminal incidents. On 21 November, 18 cruise passengers were robbed at gunpoint whilst on tours after having disembarked Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of The Seas and Disney’s Disney Wonder. Gunmen robbed guests of cash, passports, credit cards, mobile phones and personal goods.
A 21-year old man was later charged with the offence.