From NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Minister of Tourism has served notice of his intention to modify taxation ‘rebates’ for many rail lines to a system based on passengers that “turn off the boat and spend money”.
Dionisio D’Aguilar said he has scheduled meetings with all the significant cruise lines that call to the Bahamas at next month’s Seatrade Global business summit, reiterating that Government would like to give.
Seatrade Global 2018 is scheduled for March 5-8 at Fort Lauderdale, and Mr D’Aguilar said: “I have made appointments to observe all the cruise boat companies to speak with every of them individually.
“A great deal of their contracts are coming up for renewal and we want to make our connection together based on not the number of individuals they attract, but based on the amount of individuals who come off the boat and spend money here.”
Mr D’Aguilar conceded the Bahamas would need to fulfill the side of the deal which required it to update Prince George Dock along with the Welcome Centre, plus offer innovative attractions and tours to encounter.
“We have to work together with the cruise ships to make that occur. I think they just bring them here, receive their incentive and leave,” he informed Tribune Business. “They often complain that the port is not a pleasant experience, there’s not much for folks to do, and that’s why people do not spend.
“We want them to assist us. This is an important destination for them. This is the biggest cruise port outside the united states. It’s very important to them to create this work. I’m insistent they come here. A lot of cruise companies want to go the islands they’ve spent in but that will not help lots of our brothers and sisters. It is important that they come here [Nassau] and we all get this right.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Tourism’s comments indicate he is trying to replicate the agreements struck in Grand Bahama, to ensure death tax refunds are based upon the quantity of passengers attracted to this 42, at which ship incentive packages were restructured.
Along with the rebates are larger, or ‘dual’, for stopover passengers as opposed to ‘day trippers’. “The ferry companies will get a lien on the death tax based on the type of passengers they attract,” Mr D’Aguilar told Tribune Business lately of Grand Bahama. “A day tripper will make them a smaller lien than when they attract a stopover visitor.
“Before these businesses would secure marketing deals whereby the Ministry of Tourism would provide them a fixed amount, and there wasn’t any connection between performance and pay.
“we would like to incentivise them to attract as many passengers as they could, and the longer they attract the longer they recuperate, rather than advertising support prices. We are attempting to move away from these stationary marketing deals which don’t benefit you for performance… The previous prices had no connection with passengers attracted on the island.
Mr D’Aguilar said that yesterday, the Pointe advancement that other members of Cabinet, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis along with he lacked would provide amenities to lure cruise passengers. “We need to correct the port which I think is horribly chaotic and supply a better experience to lull them onto Bay Street. We have to provide entertaining cultural events to allow them to take part in.”