Uptick in business inquiries following Grand Bahama project announcements
Business expansion inquiries have already picked up on Grand Bahama following the announcement of several major projects slated for the island.
Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce President Gregory Laroda said the chamber has finally started to see an increase in inquiries and activity.
“There seems to be more business inquiries on the island. Now that someone has announced that they are making a major investment, others are interested. So I believe this is a catalyst for economic activity on the island,” Laroda said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that Carnival Cruise Line would spearhead the development of a new cruise port at Sharp Rock near Freeport, which is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs on the island.
Additionally, Mexico-based ITM group – one of several companies vying to purchase the Grand Lucayan resort – has proposed a $130 million development for the island that includes the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort complex and the transformation of Grand Bahama’s cruise port into an adventure park.
“For a long time now, the economy of the island has been in a downturn and there were lots of promises of investments coming on line. Then there were delays and nothing coming from it. I think since there was an announcement of the Carnival Grand Port that’s supposed to be coming on line, everything seems to be positive,” Laroda said.
“Folks seem to feel pretty confident that this will take place and it’s kind of bringing a lot of hope to persons in the business sector, as well as persons just looking for jobs and normal employees on the island.”
The chamber head said while many New Providence-based companies have inquired about expanding their locations to the second city, he’d like to see new startups from Grand Bahama take advantage of the emerging business climate.
“As you would be aware, the government is doing a lot to encourage entrepreneurship on the island. And I think with what I’ve heard with the announcement for the Carnival port — I haven’t heard a lot of details about Royal Caribbean project — but from the Carnival port I think there’s a lot of opportunity for persons who are looking to be entrepreneurs. So now maybe a good time for those businesses to start up,” he said.
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