Carnival Corporation’s assertion that cruise visitors are not finding things to do in Nassau has spurred the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) to kick its committees and training modules into high gear, to ready tourism stakeholders for when visitors return en masse, whether by cruise ship or plane.
TDC Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Janet Johnson told Guardian Business yesterday that her organization’s cruise committee is tasked with finding ways to improve the perception expressed recently by Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Global Port & Destination Development Giora Israel.
Israel, in interviews with local media, explained that one-third of cruise visitors never book a tour when visiting Nassau. He suggested that many cruise visitors have visited Nassau before and have grown bored with the offerings that currently exist.
According to Israel, the destination needs to “renew itself”.
“There is very little product in Nassau for people who come back again and again and again,” Israel said.
His suggestion was that the government facilitate the development of new products by supporting business development.
The government is currently funding many startup businesses, some in the tourism space.
Meantime, Johnson said those businesses that are available now have to re-evaluate their offerings during this down time.
The TDC, she said, will soon offer varying training sessions and modules to ready tourism sector businesses for a resurge in visitor arrivals.
“We need to do some sessions to talk to Bahamians about refreshing, re-evaluating, updating their product, and sort of teach them how to do that, so that we’re not opening up with the same old, same old,” said Johnson.
“We’re working on some stuff and we will be going to market with it and hosting some webinars. We have written some modules for the Festival Place vendors, working with the Nassau Cruise Port. So we developed these modules to speak to customer service, branding and safety elements, weaving in the Safe Travel Stamp.”
She added that Bahamas Experience is helping the Cruise Committee and newly launched Agritourism Committee to develop the kinds of excursions guests might want to experience in Nassau.
“They know what is new and fresh and being offered in other destinations,” Johnson said.
“The pandemic has forced us to look at what we have, enhance it and look at some things differently. We realize that this is an opportunity to refresh our product and to encourage those who are in the market to do things different.
“Expect that the visitor is a discerning visitor and they want value for money.”
Johnson added that the TDC is taking a second look at Airbnb’s experiences platform to renew and enhance those experiential tours on the island.