Cruise passengers are reportedly fearful of the current conditions of Nassau’s famed Straw Market, according to local vendors in the Bahamas and a popular U.S. cruise publication.
One of the vendors told the Tribune newspaper “. . . many of the tourists refused to come off the ship because they were told the market is too dark they are going to be robbed, raped and all these sorts of different things . . .”
The popular cruise blog Cruise Radio reported yesterday that the comment was made during a dispute between the Bahamian government and the local citizens who work in the market. The government-operated Straw Market Authority apparently threw away goods from the stalls of market vendors who were delinquent in paying the modest rent for their stalls. Cruise Radio commented that “but those selling their wares at the straw market have been unhappy with the state of affairs for some time, claiming that parts of the space have been without lights for months.” One vendor responded to the perceived mistreatment, complaining that the the market the market is an embarrassing place to bring tourists and noting it was “‘filthy’ and needed to be painted and cleaned.”
The Bahamas has struggled with cruise tourism in the last many years, as many cruise passengers refuse to step off the cruise ships when they arrive in Nassau or Freeport. Many cruise guests cite crime, dirty conditions, aggressive merchants and an absence of things to do compared with other ports as reasons why they stay on the ships when they reach the Bahamas.
As Cruise Radio has observed in a prior article: “The fact that many passengers now opt to stay on board the ships which brought them isn’t news to anyone who has spent time on message boards. There, people often complain about everything from the lack of interesting things to do in Nassau to the virtual army of cab drivers and vendors one must fight past in order to get anywhere.”
But Bahamian tourism official have publicly stated that they needed to be “more aggressive” in looking to find ways to extract money from cruisers. Yet, the Bahamas is planning to end the millions of dollars annually spent on incentives paid to the “very, very profitable” cruise lines so that they would bring passengers to the Bahamas.
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Photo credit: Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board