by Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “I don’t know how soon cruise [tourism] is going to return,” said CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Rachel Brown answering a question on how soon the federations will be ready to welcome back cruise ships to our waters.
Brown went on to say that everything is dependent on rollout of vaccinations in St. Kitts and Nevis as well as other regional cruise destinations and the testing period for the cruise line.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “The test sailings are a critical piece of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO). Cruise ships are required to complete a series of trial sailings that test the company’s COVID-related protocols in real time. Only after the trials are completed to the CDC’s satisfaction will it allow the line to begin revenue-cruise operations.”
Even after the testing period has ended which is a period of six months according to Brown, cruise destinations will have a hand in whether or not a vessel will dock in their ports.
“And the cruise lines have made it clear, we must have a unified protocol in place because you can’t have one [set of] protocols for one destination and another. So it’s going to be a unified approach but I believe everything is dependent on what happens in our source markets and the rollout of the vaccination,” Brown stated.
The revitalizing of the tourism industry seems dependent on the concept of population immunity and protocol consensus between source markets and tourism destinations, however; the procurement of vaccines has been delayed because of a lag in manufacturing, early vaccine hoarding and doses going to waste because of mismanagement, a lack of medical supplies or the ever-changing nature of the virus and the constant mutations which has posed vaccinations issues in some countries.
In spite of this Brown urges the public to stay positive with regards to the return of a robust cruise tourism industry.
“I don’t think cruise tourism is dead I think vaccinations, and I will keep saying that and believing in it, is the key for cruise tourism to resume and the more countries in the Caribbean that have vaccinations at above 70 percent we will have successful cruise return to the Caribbean.”