Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest said while Grand Bahama has much to offer in terms of tourism, and while there are a number of talented, hard-working individuals within the Ministry of Tourism working diligently to make the product work, there is a constant challenge of access – getting people to the island in an efficient, cost-effective manner. During his address to dignitaries and invited guests at the launch of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s ‘Grand Classica’ cruise ship on Saturday morning (April 14, 2018) aboard the vessel, Minister Turnquest noted that the challenge presents itself at both the airport, as well as at the harbor. “This is something which we hope that as we move on from here, we will be able to work with all the relevant parties (Grand Bahama Port Authority, Hutchison Whampoa Group, GB Power Company and the Government) to come up with a strategy that would allow for Grand Bahama to overcome the challenges it faces in the tourism industry.
“We must recognize that none of us will be successful if we make the barriers so high that it makes it difficult to attract the kind of traffic that we would like to see on this island. Our goal ought to be to get them here and once we get them here, then figure out collectively how we can benefit from their presence. “We in government would like for you to be our partners. To work with us, work with the community and recognize that we have to build what we have together.” Minister Turnquest noted Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has been a part of The Bahamas for many years and delivered quality service and quality experiences for many on Grand Bahama during that time. He said that the same great service they delivered with ‘Celebration’ cruise line will be carried on with the service of the ‘Grand Classica’ cruise line between Freeport and West Palm Beach.
“I encourage Bahamians to try and get involved in areas like the cruise industry and the tourism industry and take advantage of the opportunities both industries offer in terms of financial benefits,” said Minister Turnquest. “Don’t wait for someone else to do it, because if you wait for someone else to do it, then you become just employees or workers in that field when you have the opportunities to become employers and owners.” Minister Turnquest noted that the Grand Classica cruise ship offers a very unique product, in that not only does it bring hundreds of visitors to Freeport, but it allows the visitors to stay overnight in the hotels on the island. The combination of both the Grand Classica and the Grand Celebration sailing out of West Palm Beach is expected to bring some 400,000 guests to the island each year.