by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Celebrity Equinox returns at Port Zante on Tuesday, October 5.
Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority made that announcement during the September 24 broadcast of WINN’s Island Tea.
The testing phase of the restart of the cruise sector continues, and the tourism authority is looking at the second call as an opportunity to continue the implementation of its bubble policies and facilitate adjustments, according to Melnecia Marshall, the Product Development Manager at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Carlene Henry-Morton, said the people of St. Kitts and Nevis should commend themselves because they complied with the imposed restriction during the cruise’s visit.
“By and large, I don’t know of any breaches, no complaints, no reports of anybody going into spaces where they had been asked not to go. And I think that that is a very good sign for us, to me, it shows that the general public understands what I on the table, what we’re trying to achieve, and the importance of making sure that our guests have a very good experience while they are here and the ships themselves feel confident that whatever the conditions that we say that we would live up to that we are indeed going to live up to them. And I think that we ought to applaud the general public for the patience that they are exhibiting.”
According to Marshall, the restrictions on access to tourist sites and attractions within the bubble mitigate the possibility of contact tracing issues should a breach occur.
“If the bubble is going to burst, it means that someone from the general public is going to enter the site, so that is why we say those sites are restricted on those days. Also, it’s important because we do not want, if anything happens, that it becomes a contact tracing nightmare. You don’t know who was there, what was happening. With these bubble vaccinated sites there, there’s better control. We’re able to know okay these are the employees because the sites are asked to submit the names of the employees, so we have a list, so we know okay, Mary, Jane, Susan, Sue, they were working on the fifth of October. So God forbid anything has to happen, it’s easy to ensure that we can contact those persons, rather than having to figure out how many cases from the general public may have been [on] that site in addition to the cruise visitors, in addition to the staff.”
Henry-Morton shared similar sentiments when addressing people who want the proverbial gates to open and let the chips fall as they may.
“As we expand, we also keep people, our own local public and the guests as well; across the board, everybody is as safe as we possibly can make them and that we do not invite into the bubble, anything… because what can happen is that we can throwback the floodgates, everybody comes and then in the next two months no ships coming again, because we have a disaster on our hands. That does not make sense.”
Marshall disputes any notion that nationals and residents are not benefiting from cruise ship’s return.
“These tours are facilitated by local operators. The cruise vessels and not coming off the vessel and completing their own tours. These tours are facilitated by our own local people, our nationals and our residents. Our nationals and residents are also benefiting. Our nationals and residents are the ones who are working on the train. Our nationals and residents are the ones who are driving the tour buses. Our nationals and residents are the ones who are the independent taxi operators. Our nationals and residents are the ones who are working at Caribelle Batik. Our nationals and residents are the ones who are working at Brimstone Hill. And so, our people are benefiting even from the pre-booked tours. We have local tour operators who are subcontracted to provide services for some of these tours. So the notion that is out there that our nationals are not benefiting when the vessels are here, that is incorrect because our nationals and residents are the ones that are providing the service, as the host company.”
You can watch the full interview with Tourism here: