Government officials in The Bahamas have approved the purchase of the Lighthouse Point property on the island of Eleuthera by Disney.
According to The Eleuthera News, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced that Disney Cruise Line and the local government have reached a deal on the development of the property, which will become the company’s second destination in the island chain.
Prime Minister Minnis said the development of the 700-acre property by Disney would include an investment of between $250 million and $400 million. The deal also calls on the cruise line to donate 190 acres of the newly acquired land to the government to become a national park.
Disney Cruise Line already operates a private island Castaway Cay in the island chain but has been looking to expand in The Bahamas with a second destination in support of the growth of the fleet from four to seven ships by 2023.
In October, officials in the Bahamas issued tentative approval for Disney’s plan to construct and operate a cruise port on the island of Eleuthera. The proposal called for the building of “a pier, shops, marina, restaurants and walkways through nearby forests and around salt ponds.”
As part of the deal, Disney will increase visits to the ports of Nassau and Freeport by 30-40 percent and offer between three and five weekly visits from cruise ships year-round to the Lighthouse Point property.
Following the press conference with Prime Minister Minnis, his office released a statement, which revealed further details about the project:
Under the Heads of Agreement, DCL will ensure a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.
Disney also has committed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers during the life of the construction phase of the project. This is subject to qualified labor being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards
DCL will also create as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed.
The development will provide a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.
DCL will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programs, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Center) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of The Bahamas.
Space must be provided for Bahamian vendors on the property for the sale of authentic, high quality Bahamian retail goods, services, souvenirs, arts and crafts, Bahamian T-shirts and other merchandise.
Disney must also give priority to Bahamian owners and operators to provide port adventures for DCL guests while its ships are in port, and will seek to use Bahamian entertainers.
Other elements of the project include the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered.
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