Bahamian vendors upset over Royal Caribbean store on CocoCay
Vendors on the Berry Islands of the Bahamas are upset with Royal Caribbean over a newly opened signature store on its private island of CocoCay. These vendors claim the new store has cost their revenues to be slashed by 75%.
Mary Neely-Knowles, a spokeswoman for the Coco Cay vendors, claims the vendors cannot compete with Royal Caribbean's store despire the store being open for only two weeks.
“We are selling T-shirts with the Coco Cay logo on it and they are selling T-shirts with the Coco Cay logo on it and Royal Caribbean . . . their t-shirts are $10, ours is $18."
“And we can’t sell any lower [because] most of our T-shirts come from the States or Nassau [where] they start from $7 to $8, so you have to sell $15.
“So why do they need to sell the same straw items, the hats, T-shirts, lotion, sunglasses and things that we are selling? We can’t compete.”
Neely-Knowles went on to claim that workers have noticed a shift in the purchases passengers have been making. In addition, Royal Caribbean's cashless system of purchases has further created problems for the vendors as many passengers are now disembarking without cash.
A letter obtained by the Guardian Business shows Royal Caribbean received approval from the Bahamian Director of Investments, Gaydene McClain for the store under the condition the items sold in the store would “have Royal Caribbean’s logo” on it.
The vendors believe that the distinction wasn't enough and that their items overwhelm the vendors with similar goods.
The fact of the matter is governments in the Caribbean enter into these agreements with cruise lines as a way of constructing state-of-the-art cruise facilities, which in turn guarantees long-term cruise traffic. Officials from the Bahamas government assert it would very difficult for the Bahamas to maintain or grow its share of the cruise industry without such competitive incentives.