Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cruise News: Ultra Modern Cruise Facility Planned For Barbados

The Caribbean island Barbados has unveiled plans to construct an ultra-modern cruise facility, in the capital city of Bridgetown. When completed, the Sugar Point Cruise facility will allow the tourism-driven country to welcome some of the largest cruise ships in the world. Another advantage of the facility is that it will in effect separate cruise and cargo activities, thereby addressing complaints about the two competing for limited space within the port.

The development will take place along Trevor's Way and involve reclaiming 15 acres of land from the sea, 100,000 square feet of which will be provided for commercial activity. Dredging is slated to begin in November. Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson said the project will be done in two phases, the first of which is estimated to cost 300 million dollars. He said the initial stage will include two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities, along with parking lots.

The two-year project will be spearheaded by Barbados Port Incorporated in a joint venture with a consortium comprising Barbadian company SMI Infrastructure Solutions Incorporated and Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, the world's second largest cruise operator.

A minimum of 200 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, with 500 more added through related commercial activities. Once completed, the facility is also expected to feature Barbados rum and sugar culture as a major theme throughout. Minister Hutson said the government is banking on the new facility to attract more cruise ships, with a view to increasing the revenue generated from their passengers. He pointed out that for Barbados to effectively compete with new and emerging tourism markets, it must improve the customer experience and satisfaction. It is with that in mind, that the new facility will be constructed in such a manner as to offer the opportunity to experience local music, cuisine and even see local artisans prepare their products for sale.

The facility will bring Bridgetown to cruise passengers, the minister said. He also said that the development would assist Barbados' efforts to become a hub for cruise tourism. Cruise tourism in Barbados has grown from just over 127,000 in 1985 to 726,543 last year. The highest number of cruise passengers 812,863 was recorded in 2004. According to the latest Central Bank of Barbados figures, which are for the first half of this year, the number of cruise passengers rose slightly, by 2.5 percent, although 21 fewer cruise ships visited.

Image Courtesy of Totally Barbados

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