HOLDING OUT FOR ‘BETTER TIMES’: Port chief defends cruise passenger rerouting amid vendor concerns

HOLDING OUT FOR ‘BETTER TIMES’: Port chief defends cruise passenger rerouting amid vendor concerns
Renovations underway at Nassau Cruise Port on June 23, 2021. (BIS PHOTO/PATRICK HANNA)

Maura: Ongoing construction requires occasional shifting of passenger flows

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nassau Cruise Port Chief Executive Officer Mike Maura said yesterday that ongoing construction at the cruise port has required the occasional shifting of passenger flows to support safe and efficient construction.

Vendors operating at the port have expressed concern over the fate of their businesses, which they say have come to a virtual “standstill” over the past several days.

According to a communication obtained by Eyewitness News, tourist traffic has been halted since last week Thursday, when the usual exit for cruise passengers moved to a different location.

We are well on our way to a better day, but we still have difficult months ahead. The government continues to work day and night to improve our economic circumstance and our tourism product.

– Nassau Cruise Port CEO Mike Maura Jr

But Maura yesterday maintained that the “one-of-a-kind waterfront development” currently underway at the port will “be instrumental in bringing Downtown Nassau back to life”.

“The majority of the construction — to include 650 feet of taxi, bus tour and surrey ground transportation area — will be completed this year,” said Maura.

“Presently, as construction continues, the construction works require occasional shifting of passenger flows to support safe and efficient construction.”

He added: “This has been difficult for all and the government, along with Nassau Cruise Port and many Bay Street property owners, have suspended charging individuals and businesses for use of land and or facilities for the past two years.

Mike Maura Jr, CEO of Nassau Cruise Port.

“We are well on our way to a better day, but we still have difficult months ahead.

“The government continues to work day and night to improve our economic circumstance and our tourism product.”

He noted that Nassau Cruise Port has donated over $600,000 in relocation support and entertainment fees to the government to pull cruise passengers off of ships and other tourists into downtown, and we will continue to support the government and partners to improve the experience and ultimately the tourism product.

“We encourage local stakeholders to continue to communicate in the spirit of partnership and both take ownership in addressing any temporary issues and ask how they can help,” said Maura.

“We are sincerely grateful to our many downtown partners and thank them for their support and patience during this challenging time.

“We all need to continue to do our part. Better times are just ahead.”

 

“Crippling”

Maura noted the ongoing challenges of small and large businesses but said The Bahamas seems to be rebounding ahead of many countries.

“The pandemic has been crippling for all without exception. All of us have had to do more in an effort and hope to get back to pre-COVID normalcy and today this remains our collective circumstance,” said Maura.

Renovations underway at Nassau Cruise Port on June 23, 2021. (BIS PHOTO/PATRICK HANNA)

“Every day is a challenge for small and large businesses.

“Every day is a challenge for families, and some are more fortunate than others, but we are all experiencing this pandemic.

“We remain in the early stages of economic recovery and it’s not easy for many.

“Some good news is that The Bahamas is rebounding ahead of many countries. The return of ships has been critical to the start of economic recovery for downtown stakeholders.”

He added: “More good news is that while many regional tourist destinations have been waiting for the recovery, Nassau Cruise Port has been building a downtown waterfront destination that will attract millions of visitors per year.”

Maura noted that scooter and ATV operators have established base operations on Union Wharf, and water and land taxi and tour operators have adjusted operations in support of the completion of critical elements of the project, which will directly support future business opportunities.