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St. Kitts Tourism Authority on Restart of Cruise Tourism; “It’s Going to be Very Incremental”

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “There’s no post-COVID-19 situation, we believe that COVID is here to stay and so as a nation, globally we have to do our best to see how we can cope and move forward in this new era,” were the sentiments shared by Melnecia Marshall, Product Development Manager in the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”, and the first step begins with a significant reduction in the scale of what cruise tourism in the Federation looked like in 2019.

“It’s going to be very incremental, very measured because if you have too many things going on at the same time, if God forbid, things begin to go wrong, you don’t know where to look to see where it’s going wrong. When you do it in a very measured way, you can kind of pinpoint that it seems as if this is where [we have] a gap. This is where we’re having some, you know, some issues, and so you are better able to begin to fix and tweak and refine and so on… This is not just for the stakeholders in tourism but the general public to understand that there is actually a system that has been worked out and the way in which we’re going to do things. There are a number of players, in fact, it’s not just the Ministry of Tourism, it’s health, it’s the COVID-19 task force, its police, you know, it’s a whole set of players that are going to have to make sure that we complement and support each other on this journey,” said Carlene Henry-Morton Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Transport and Ports during the July 16 broadcast of WINN’s Island Tea Hosted by Kevon Hanley, Jade Johnson and Azem Bailey.

No hustle and bustle for the return of Cruise Tourism come July 22 when the first ship in 15 months arrives at our shores during this test sailing period.

“The ship normally has a capacity on any given day, not just because of COVID but on any normal day, it has a capacity of 450 passengers. The ships right now are doing their test sailings; they’re not sailing at 100 percent capacity. We have been advised that it’s about 1/3 of the capacity because it’s [more] of a pilot situation going on; [so] as the cruise lines are testing, the destinations are testing.”

Marshall expressed that this period is especially critical with regards to the phased restart of cruise tourism especially coming out of a lockdown and community spread.

“Especially coming out of [an] outbreak that we had, we really don’t want to have the destination end up in a situation where we have another outbreak, and we end up in another lockdown. We really want to see how we can [balance public health] and the economics because we understand that we all have to earn a living.”

As this is a testing period, only fully vaccinated stakeholders in cruise tourism can participate in the bubble tours for the guests.

“All of the operators, meaning the employees at the sites, or the service providers, [must be] vaccinated. They must have attended the training, and they must have received their traveller proof seal.”

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