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Bahamas: Cruise Passengers Won’T Be Downtown This Year

Nassau Cruise Port’s top executive yesterday warned that downtown Bay Street is “unlikely to see any cruise passengers” before year-end 2020 regardless of whenever the industry resumes sailing.

#Michael Maura, its chief executive, told Tribune Business that the cruise lines will likely maintain tight control of their passengers’ onshore activities to ensure they remain COVID-19 free and do not bring the virus with them when they return to the ship.

#As a result, he suggested that passengers will be directed to specific tours or excursions whose providers have satisfied the cruise lines they have implemented the necessary health and safety protocols during the first phase of the industry’s return.

#This, Mr Maura added, will mean that downtown Nassau merchants, restaurants, taxi drivers, straw vendors, hair braiders and all others that rely on the cruise ship industry for their livelihoods will not see “passengers independently wandering” along Bay Street or any surrounding areas prior to year-end.

#Acknowledging that “it’s going to be a hard 2020” for those sectors of the tourism industry that draw a significant portion of their business from the cruise sector, Mr Maura said: “There ain’t no way around it. It’s going to be very, very difficult.”

#The Nassau Cruise Port chief added that cruise ship traffic volumes were likely to be 40-50 percent below pre-COVID levels once the industry sets sail again, with passenger numbers down by half.

#His comments will likely make further grim reading for businesses, entrepreneurs and employees in the downtown Nassau/Bay Street area in particular given that they were last Friday greeted by the cruise industry’s announcement that it has again pushed back its restart to September 15, 2020, at the earliest.

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