Social media has been abuzz with the following meme:
I have been seeing this more and more. One person wrote in to CBS affiliate WPLG and had this to say:
“Can’t someone order the cruise lines that make billions of dollars on cruises to the Bahamas?”
First, the cruise ships are not registered in the USA. So who exactly is going to issue these orders? Yes, many of them are registered in the Bahamas, but do you have any idea what nationalizing cruise ships would do to the Bahamian tourism industry?
Let me tell you why this is misguided and wrong:
The cruise lines aren’t profiting from the Bahamas. The Bahamas and the cruise lines are profiting from cruise ship passengers. The islanders have been richly rewarded for this partnership: cruise ships and their passengers bring $250 million a year to the Bahamas, a figure that represents nearly 5 percent of the Bahamas GNP. Yet even that number pales in comparison to the airlines, whose passengers bring another $1.1 billion to the island nation. In all, tourism represents 40% of the GNP of the Bahamas. The cruise lines don’t owe the islands anything. The entire economy of the Bahamas is built on tourism.
I think it will turn out that the loss of tourism that will follow this storm will be the worst part of the disaster. The funding that will be needed for the people to rebuild and resume their lives just isn’t going to be there. If you truly want the cruise lines to help, instead of free food and lodging, book a cruise to (largely untouched) Nassau, and then spend gobs of money there.