Tourism Minister says Royal Caribbean’s homeporting initiative is major investment in GB’s economy
By Andrew Coakley
Jun 21, 2021 - 9:09:59 AM
GB MINISTER OF STATE – Kwasi Thompson, during his remarks at the Inaugural Homeporting Ceremony of Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas at Freeport Harbour on Friday, June 18, 2021, encouraged Royal Caribbean to consider having a homeport in the Bahamas on a permanent basis. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – After cruise tourism had stopped for many months, Friday marked the return of cruise passengers to Grand Bahama, said Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, during the Inaugural Ceremony marking Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas’ Bahamas Homeporting and Weekly Calls on the Port of Freeport, held June 18, 2021 at Freeport Harbour.
“It has been sixteen long and painful months, during which absolutely no cruise ships have sailed the waters of The Bahamas (because of the COVID-19 Pandemic). And because of that I would like to extend a very warm Bahamian welcome to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and to express our collective gratitude for its decision to home port in The Bahamas, particularly at this time when The Bahamas needs it most,” added Minister D’Aguilar.
The Tourism Minister noted that the pandemic came at a most inopportune time, when The Bahamas, and particularly Grand Bahama, was at its most vulnerable, trying to rebound from the ravages of Hurricane Dorian, which devastated parts of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“So, it is with open arms and a heart of gratitude that The Bahamas welcomes and embraces Royal Caribbean’s decision to -- for the very first time ever -- start a cruise right here in The Bahamas and include in its weekly itinerary a stop in Grand Bahama,” said Minister D’Aguilar.
“Today marks the ability for the Grand Bahama economy to feel the rebound of tourism that is clearly underway. Starting and ending a cruise in The Bahamas has never happened before. That’s why this cruise is so historic.”
TOURISM IS BOUNCING BACK – Minister of Tourism, Dionisio D’Aguilar, during his address at the Inaugural Homeporting Ceremony of Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas at Freeport Harbour on Friday, June 18, 2021, said that tourism is rebounding every day in The Bahamas. He noted that Royal Caribbean’s investment in The Bahamas will provide a significant shot in the arm for the Bahamian economy. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)
The Tourism Minister noted that cruises from South Florida to The Bahamas will resume, in many instances, far earlier than anticipated. He said cruise executives were steadfast in their report that based on the CDC’s guidelines, cruising from the United States would not resume until September or late November.
However, Royal Caribbean issued a press release in early June noting that the company was preparing to relaunch cruises from the U.S. by summer of this year, such that by the end of August, 12 Royal Caribbean ships would be cruising once again across The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe.
“Grand Bahama, and other parts of The Bahamas involved in making their living from cruise passengers can begin finally to restart their livelihoods. I’m also delighted to report that Tourism is rebounding every day. Everybody sees it. The airports are getting busier, the marinas up and down The Bahamas have never been busier, the occupancy rates in the hotels are improving and most importantly, the tens of thousands of Bahamians who were furloughed as a result of the pandemic are slowly being called back to work.
“More tourists means more jobs, more jobs means more income and more income means an improvement in our quality of life.
“Thank you Royal Caribbean for your vision and willingness to be proactive, to seize and capitalize on a winning strategy that will bring economic enhancement and elevation to your cruise business, as well as to Freeport, Grand Bahama.”
Minister D’Aguilar said Royal Caribbean’s decision to invest in the economy of Grand Bahama in more ways than just the homeporting initiative, is a significant testament to the company’s faith and confidence in GB’s destination potential and viability.
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