Various government officials visited Royal Caribbean International (RCL) and ITM Group on Wednesday to view the newest iteration of Holistica’s (an RCI and ITM Group joint venture company) plans for Freeport’s cruise port and the Grand Lucayan resort complex, but those officials still cannot say what those plans might be and when a deal could be struck, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar told Guardian Business yesterday.
D’Aguilar, who was at the meeting in Miami along with representatives from the Bahamas Investment Authority, Ministry for Grand Bahama and the attorney general’s office, said the discussions were productive.
While D’Aguilar explained that the government is not in a position to comment on the discussions, he said the government is “making progress inch by inch and day by day” with Holistica.
“Nothing is agreed until it’s gone to Cabinet, so it would be irresponsible to discuss it,” he said.
‘Everybody is anxious for a deal to be done, but this is still a few months out.”
According to D’Aguilar, the Holistica team showed the government contingent their latest vision for the Freeport cruise port and their plans for the Grand Lucayan hotel.
D’Aguilar told this paper recently that negotiations with Holistica will likely not be completed until closer to the end of 2019.
“As negotiations go they have ups and downs, twists and turns, but we inch ever closer,” he said.
Holistica’s partnership is a 50-50 deal between RCI and ITM and will also include destinations in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Kumamoto, Japan.
D’Aguilar explained last week that all of the cruise ship companies seem to be developing new destinations and expanding and improving their existing destinations, like private islands, in preparation for growth in the cruise industry and competition between each other.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) reported in its Quarterly Economic and Financial Developments report for June 2019 that HAL Properties Limited, the owner of Carnival Corporation, was approved to expand its beach entertainment facility on Half Moon Cay, with plans to construct more facilities, including a cruise pier on the island. Carnival’s projects and renovations are expected to cost $80 million.
Additionally, MSC is completing the renovation of its Ocean Cay project, Carnival is also building a new cruise port on Grand Bahama and Disney Cruise Line is hoping to receive the green light on a new project at Lighthouse Point on Eleuthera.