Bimini won fame again when the public learned that Gary Hart, a leading Democratic presidential candidate in the 1988 U.S. election, had taken his mistress, Donna Rice, to Bimini, where they were captured in a now-infamous photo, prompting him to drop out of the race.
Cruise ships have stopped offshore in the past and ferry service has been tried from Florida. But Resorts World Bimini Bay is unprecedented, and some Biminites and visitors question whether the venture can compete with other attractions, including Baha Mar, a $3.4 billion hotel-and-casino project under construction in Nassau, the Bahamian capital.
Genting projects the number of visitors to Bimini will grow from 70,000 last year to 400,000 in 2014, which is likely to produce ripple effects throughout the local economy, a fact welcomed by Biminites like Robert Saunders, who works at a local hotel.
“There are people who don’t want any progress anywhere,” Saunders said. “There can be downsides and upsides, but I see more upsides.”