Thursday, October 12, 2017
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
A TEMPORARY ferry service from Miami to Freeport has been established to fill the void created by the suspension of the Grand Celebration's route, according to a statement released from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The temporary service by FRS Caribbean will cover the period of October 23 until the end of December 2017.
According to the statement, FRS Caribbean presently provides a ferry service from Miami to Bimini but is in talks to establish a permanent route between the Port of Miami and Freeport Harbour.
"The vessel will provide temporary service between Miami and Freeport for the residents and visitors alike, particularly stopover visitors.
"The Government of the Bahamas, through the Ministry of Tourism has reached an understanding that this temporary ferry service will be provided by FRS while the Grand Celebration is on assignment assisting the US Government with hurricane relief.
"In addition the Government of The Bahamas will be providing the necessary marketing support to ensure Grand Bahama can maximize this opportunity and encourage as many stopover visitors as possible to come to Grand Bahama.
"Additionally, discussions are ongoing between FRS and the Government of The Bahamas towards the full time establishment of ferry services between the Port of Miami and the Freeport Harbour.
"The Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, wishes to convey appreciation to all tourism industry stakeholders for assisting the community of Grand Bahama as we continue to promote Grand Bahama as a place to vacation, relax, and do business," it added.
The temporary suspension of the Grand Celebration cruise ship to Grand Bahama for three months was described as another "big blow" for the beleaguered second city.
The ship is in the US Virgin Islands to assist with recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and will not resume its two-night excursion from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama until December 23.
Grand Bahama tour operators and vendors have lamented the likely negative impact to the island's already depressed economy, and limping tourism market due to shuttered hotels and stalled projects.