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Update on GB cruise port coming in 2011

Any update regarding the$100 million cruise port project in Grand Bahama will surface next year, according to Director General of Tourism David Johnson, affirming that it hasn’t been shelved.

Last week Johnson toldGuardian Businessthat the project is still in the works, and more light will be shed on the cruise port in 2011.

“At this point I cant give you a further update except that we are still committed, we are having discussions with Carnival regarding how we do this early in the year,”Johnson said.”You will hear some more from us as to how we are approaching that project. It is very much alive and we want to improve Grand Bahama’s position and develop new features that will make it a leading cruise port.”

Johnson’s comments come after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said in an interview last week that the project”is not going as well as expected.”

The project is expected to generate hundreds of jobs and create new business opportunities, along with providing an economic boost to the island. Johnson said the Ministry of Tourism is providing assistance with certain phases of the project.

In 2009, Ingraham announced that it would be funded by the global cruise line in conjuction with the government, but no further news on the terminal was provided after September of that year. Concerns were raised that year about the level of control Carnival would have of the new port, where local businesses would not benefit from the visitor arrivals and spend because the cruise line would operate a community of shops owned by Carnival. Even if the cruise line owned most, if not all of the Freeport facility’s shops and other revenue centers, assert proponents, the project would still provide jobs for many.

But despite the lack of new information, Johnson assured that an update will be provided.

[The project]is still on track and we have in a deal in place to announce,(the details)haven’t been worked out but we’re working to get that done,”he said.”We’re not at the stage where we are able to disclose that sort of information.”

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