Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said on Monday there is no reason to worry over the new $200 million development on Coco Cay, which belongs to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
The project has come under fire in recent weeks as local activists expressed concern about Nassau’s port losing out significantly to the new cay.
According to D’Aguilar however, Nassau will maintain its relevance as an attraction for tourists.
“I don’t think the redevelopment of these islands is intended to take away cruise passengers from coming to our major islands. It’s up to the Ministry of Tourism to insist and to ensure that when cruise passengers come to The Bahamas they come to our major population centers because that’s where they have their major economic impact,” he said.
“We will ensure that the Port of Nassau remains the first stop or the last stop on a tour through The Bahamas.
“We are the center of the three-day cruise. I’m not terribly worried, each of the cruise companies are competing to make their island the best and you know what that does, that entrenches them in The Bahamas.”
Many local activists have suggested that the reason major cruise liners invest in privately-owned cays is to provide tourists a safer place to go.
Last year the United States (U.S.) Embassy issued three crime advisory reports on The Bahamas.
D’Aguilar, on the other hand said, the issue of crime in the country has nothing to do with incoming guests.
“We have to move this misconception of high crime,” he said.
“But it is by and large not in the areas where the foreign visitors go. Of the 6.2 million visitors that come here each year, a very meniscal portion of them encounter a bad visit or an unpleasant visit due to crime.”
D’Aguilar said crime in The Bahamas is no worse than Miami, New York, or Chicago.
Under the name “Perfect Day at Coco Cay”, the cay is set to host North America’s tallest waterslide – a 135-foot high slide called the “Daredevils Peak”.
Other amenities include 13 slides, a 1600-foot-long zip line and the largest fresh water pool in the region.
The cay’s pier is expected to completed by November 2019.