Carnival Corporation has pledged to invest nearly £150 million in two major cruise port developments in the Bahamas.
The company on Wednesday (2 October) confirmed it had signed an agreement with the Bahamian government.
The first, a new cruise port on Grand Bahama, primarily for Carnival Cruise Line, will represent investment of in excess of £80 million.
Additionally, Carnival will expand its base on Little San Salvador with new facilities, including a pier, at a cost of upwards of £65 million “over time”. The island is home to Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay port.
“These developments and the significant investment in world-class tourism and hospitality operations are such a boon for our initiatives for national prosperity and economic stability,” said Bahamian prime minister Hubert Minnis.
Construction is due to get under way by mid-2020, subject to environmental and other permitting processes.
Carnival said the two projects underlined its commitment to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which devastated Grand Bahama and the neighbouring Abaco Islands.
Both developments will be built to withstand the force of a category five hurricane.
Giora Israel, Carnival senior vice-president global port and destination development, said the works would create hundreds of new jobs and provide a major boost to the Bahamas recovery and rebuilding effort post-Dorian.
However, he stressed it was important to be mindful that much of the Bahamas was not affected by Dorian and that it was business as usual across much of the island nation. Carnival has already pledged to resume regular sailings to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays this month.
Carnival said the two developments will allow Grand Bahama and Little San Salvador to accommodate larger cruise ships including Carnival Cruise Line’s upcoming ship Mardi Gras.
Its new development on Grand Bahama will be built on the south of the island boasting beachfront access and other features, while the additions to its Little San Salvador operation will be on the north of the island with Half Moon Cay’s beaches remaining its key attraction.
Together with the Bahamian government, Carnival has committed to making protecting the local environment a key priority by using renewable energy, reducing or eliminating single-use plastics, and embarking on other environmentally-friendly initiatives.
Carnival says it will create jobs and “entrepreneurial opportunities” for Bahamian residents, and is keen to deepen its involvement in the community, cultural events, activities and organisations.