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Bimini to benefit from electronic payments pilot program

Bimini will be part of a pilot program for a “Bank in a Box” module by Mastercard that will offer an electronic payments solution to family islandeVrs, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said on Thursday.

D’Aguilar, who was presenting his contribution to the budget debate in the House of Assembly, said the initiative is being helped along by the Inter-American Development Bank IDB) and was spurred by the introduction of community-based tourism (CBT).

According to D’Aguilar, the program will make it easier for Bahamian businesses that service cruise passengers.

He explained that the program is being rolled out in Bimini in anticipation of the arrival of a new cruise company to the island.

“A pilot program will be rolled out in August/September 2019 in Bimini in anticipation of its transformation into a cruise port by year end and the arrival of Virgin Voyages in March 2020. Given the banks’ exodus from the Family Islands, this program is intended to be rolled out in the other islands as well,” he said.

CBT was brought about through a collaboration with the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and “is being touted as a timely, signature initiative”, said D’Aguilar.

“Bahamians would recognize ‘People to People’ as the forerunner to CBT, a dynamic program that is to be managed and nurtured by TDC while drawing on best practices from elsewhere, like the Far East,” he said.

In about a year, Virgin Voyages cruise line will turn Bimini into the Ibiza of this region, in a collaboration between Virgin’s designers and Resorts World’s builders who will bring to life “The Beach Club”.

Virgin Voyages is one of several cruise lines with big plans for The Bahamas, with Carnival planning a port for Grand Bahama, another group pitching an elaborate port also for Grand Bahama, and the impending decision by the government on which company will develop Nassau’s cruise port. Several cruise lines are also revamping their private islands, while others, like Disney, are planning new island getaways.

Chester Robards

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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