NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Royal Caribbean’s president and chief executive said yesterday that the cruise line plans to bring an additional 1.5 million visitors to Nassau within the next four years, describing the company’s Paradise Island beach club development as a “win-win.”
Michael Bayley told Eyewitness News that he was “surprised” by the pushback the project was receiving from Atlantis, as he urged all tourism stakeholders to work together to introduce projects which improve the overall visitor experience on Nassau, with the destination receiving dismal rankings in that regard.
“The model for this project is a world class model for public private partnerships. There is nothing in the Bahamian tourism sector of this quality. Forty-nine percent of this entity will be owned by Bahamians,” said Bayley.
“With regards to employment, everyone who works there will be Bahamian except four to five persons who will be brand managers ensuring everything is up to Royal Caribbean standards.”
According to Royal Caribbean, 200 people will be employed at the $100 million development once completed, with the company reportedly having already invested some $60 million to date to purchase the land.
“We are looking for a Bahamian to be the president of the Royal Caribbean Beach Club and any construction activity will heavily involve Bahamian companies. It will be a win-win,” said Bayley.
Bayley noted that while there may be some concerns over the cruise line diverting passenger’s way from the downtown district, the cruise line is bringing more than enough capacity to satisfy the destination.
“We are building ships and bringing them to the Bahamas and Nassau. We are bringing the capacity. In Nassau we bring around one million tourists a year and nearly three million visitors a year to the country.
“By 2027 in Nassau, it will be 2.5 million. The Beach Club is obviously not capable of holding all of the visitors we bring. It can hold on average 2,750 guests per day. By 2027 we will be bringing 7,000 guests per day to Nassau. Sixty percent of the additional capacity coming cannot go there. That means there will be plenty of tourists for Bay Street and elsewhere. We recently met with executives of Baha Mar and Margaritaville and some retailers to talk about how we can leverage this volume that’s coming in,” argued Bayley.
He urged tourism stakeholders to work together to develop more experiences to enhance the destination to make more visitors want to come.
“It’s going to make people really happy when they come to Nassau,” said Bayey. He noted that he was “very surprised” by the pushback the beach club project has received from Atlantis, noting that the company sends millions of its guests to the resort each year. Bayley said that he and his team also met with Atlantis executives in recent months to discuss the project.