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Innovative features at CocoCay will be considered for Grand Lucayan project

Royal Caribbean International (RCI) hopes to bring the same success generated by its private island CocoCay to Freeport when it develops the Grand Lucayan property and the cruise port along with its partners ITM Group, RCI President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Bayley told the media on Friday.

According to him, when RCI and ITM begin the redevelopment process, many of the creative and recreational features that have been added to CocoCay will be considered for Freeport.

“We are hoping to bring that kind of creativity, intelligence and focus on the guests so that we can create an experience in Freeport that is second to none, and people will go there and say ‘wow, I gotta go back’ and I think that’s really what Royal Caribbean is pretty good at,” said Bayley.

“We are good at delivering great vacations and making sure guests have a great day and I think we will apply all that design, understanding and knowledge to create an experience in Freeport that makes people say, ‘I want to go.’”

Both Bayley and Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed on Friday that the government agrees that the RCI/ITM project should move forward.

“We’re still going through the process,” Bayley said.

“I think the prime minister was very gracious today. We wanted the prime minister and the ministers to understand the quality we can create in a destination.”

Bayley said there is still another 30 to 40 days left in RCI’s proposal process. He added that teams from his company have been meeting continually with the government.

While Bayley said RCI won’t prematurely announce what its exact plans for Freeport are, Guardian Business reported in February that RCI and ITM Group are proposing a $130 million development that could produce 2,500 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs.

Guardian Business got a look at a copy of the group’s proposal, which outlines plans for Freeport Harbour to be turned into a lush lagoon park called Harbour Village, replete with a lagoon, food and beverage facilities and “immersive experience facilities”; and the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort complex into a development called Lucaya Islands”.

The ITM Group is a Mexico-based cruise port developer with several ports in Mexico and one in Roatan, Honduras.

Bayley said RCI will participate in creating a more desirable destination for Nassau and will also do the same for Freeport. He said the company contributes about $300 million per year to the Bahamian economy.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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