Barbados has unveiled plans to build a new cruise facility in its capital city, Bridgetown, in partnership with local companies and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., reports the Totally Barbados website. The Sugar Point Cruise facility will separate the cruise area from the 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 require 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.
George Hutson, the minister of international business and international transport, said the project will be done in two phases, the first of which is estimated to cost $300 million. The initial stage will include two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities, and 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 Cruises Ltd.
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, Totally Barbados reported.
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 added that Barbados must improve the customer experience and satisfaction to compete with new and emerging tourism markets. The new facility will showcase local music, cuisine and work done by local artisans.
Cruise tourism in Barbados has grown from just over 127,000 in 1985 to 726,543 last year. The highest number of cruise passengers was 812,863 in 2004. According to Central Bank of Barbados figures for the first half of this year, the number of cruise passengers has risen slightly, by 2.5 percent, although 21 fewer cruise ships visited.