Royal Caribbean International is predicting a massive surge in its cruise tourism business in the Caribbean over the next decade.
Speaking at the recent Caribbean Tourism Outlook forum in Antigua, Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said he was predicting the company’s Caribbean cruise tourism business to grow by 50 percent by 2030.
“The Caribbean was, is, will always be, the number one cruise destination in the world,” Bayley told the gathering of ministers, chief executives, policymakers and other senior Caribbean tourism professionals organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in Antigua.
Indeed, eight of the top 10 cruise destinations in the world are in the Caribbean, he said.
“There are considerations that we need to take into account in terms of some of the destinations’ ability to absorb the growth that is coming – in some places the growth is perhaps already at a critical mass – but we need to find a way to accommodate the growth that is inevitably coming to cruise tourism in the Caribbean,” the chief executive said.
He pointed to recent projects by the company like the newly-launched $250 million private-island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, as “the perfect example of collaboration that benefits both the destination and the cruise line.”
“Once we put this product into the market in the US and globally, our phones went crazy. The demand we have seen for our ships and our products that go to Cococay has been amazing,” he said.
Bayley said that the demand for similar private-island destinations and public-private partnerships was strong.
“There is a lot of demand for these products and if we can figure out how to collaborate together to create these experiences, they don’t always have to have this shape and form, they can be other types of experiences,” he said. “As we evolve in terms of our ship design and experiences and what we are creating for our customers we really believe there is a huge opportunity to take all that knowledge…and transfer it into the destinations in a very meaningful way.”
That’s precisely the plan with Royal Caribbean’s newest project, a $275 million project in partnership with ITM to transform the Grand Lucayan Resort in Grand Bahama into a new model for its destination development.