Monday, February, 4th, 2018, Freeport, Bahamas - The City of Freeport is set to become home to one of the largest cruise ports in the Caribbean, and its arrival is expected over time to trigger an unprecedented growth of economic opportunity for Grand Bahamians.
The ambitious mega-project, slated to begin operations as a Carnival Cruise Line port in late 2021, is expected to create more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs for Bahamians and a plethora of diverse business prospects while attracting millions of new visitors to the island. With an amazing array of dining options, entertainment and retail establishments, a straw market and more, it will instantly rank among the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world.
“This is exactly what Grand Bahamians have been waiting for. A project of such size and scope can really kick-start our struggling economy and propel us into a bright future,” said Grand Bahama Port Authority vice chairman Sarah St. George. “This island has prevailed over an era of economic challenges. And the possibilities, created by this amazing port, are vast, varied and teaming with life. Like the sea, its realms are boundless!”
Over time, Grand Bahamians will be able to benefit from hundreds of contractor and landscaping jobs as construction of the port gets underway. When completed in 2021, there will be opportunities for employment at the port directly and for the many services providers and tenants, leading to new training initiatives and the development of additional skill sets for Bahamians. There will be opportunities for work in areas such as security and IT, while local carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other professionals will be awarded maintenance contracts for many aspects of the development.
What makes this project truly unique, however, is the unprecedented level of local ownership of businesses within the port itself. Hundreds of Grand Bahamians will be closely involved in the development, operating restaurants, retail shops, tour operations, water excursions, and a host of other businesses with the potential to develop more new commercial opportunities as the project progresses.
“This new Carnival Cruise Line port will be unlike any cruise destination in the world,” said Giora Israel, Carnival Corporation senior vice president of Global Port and Destination Development. “We want to mold a partnership with the people of Grand Bahama to have them be responsible for the restaurants, bars and attractions, bringing our guests an authentic local cultural experience that will exceed their expectations on every level.”
Added Israel: “There will be no U.S. or international branded restaurants, all Food and Beverage facilities will be of current Bahamian brands or those that will specifically developed for the port and the selection will be Bahamas themed. These restaurants will find themselves providing dining experiences up to the thousands of passengers when ships are at the port. Bahamian companies will be able to provide shorex excursions some that are already offered now to cruise ship passenger as well as new ones yet to be developed such as water craft bound tours, off-road ATV adventures, Segway excursions, kayak nature experiences, along with other exiting new ideas that local operators create for the future, all to be contracted directly with the cruise line.”
The port will create opportunities for Bahamian musicians, entertainers and artists, with local artwork and native plants bringing the development alive while local cuisine, seafood will be highlighted throughout the culinary offerings. Qualified Grand Bahamians who own and operate scuba diving and sport fishing excursions will be able to contract with the cruise line for tours, Taxis drivers and tour operators (by land and by sea) on contract with the cruise line will be granted access to the port, while the cruise line will work with the Ministry of Tourism to develop and promote new tours and excursions in other areas of Grand Bahama.
“This project is a boost to the continued resurgence of Grand Bahama’s economy. Significant employment and economic opportunities will be accessible to all Bahamians and we are extremely pleased the developers are moving forward with the project at this time”, said the Minister of State for Grand Bahama The Hon. Kwasi Thompson.