Government’s decision to accommodate over a dozen cruise ships that were denied entry to ports across the region could pay off big dividends once the threat of COVID-19 passes.
Tourism Minister Kerrie Symmonds told a media conference on Sunday that Barbados’ “humanitarian stance” has been quietly gaining respect from the international community.
On Saturday night, the Azura cruise liner, which remained offshore for days portrayed its thanks with the words “we’ll meet again” displayed from the side of the boat as it departed the island.
While the Tourism Minister expects many of the anchored vessels to follow in the coming days and weeks, he says the operators are leaving the country knowing that Barbados is a trusted partner and they have expressed a willingness to discuss expanded relationships with the island in the near future.
“At long last, the idea of having a southern Caribbean cruise alliance where in the summertime there can be a cruise itinerary that places Barbados at the center of it and links it with several other countries as opposed to the ships going into the Mediterranean where they now go in the summer is on the table.
“It is something that we must see as an opportunity and a benefit from the posture that we have taken and down the road, it can only result in increased commercial activity for the country and employment benefits as well,” said the Minister, who stressed that no negatives resulted from the country’s decision.
In addition, Symmonds again stressed that some of the vessels anchored call Barbados their homeport, and this required the country to fulfill its responsibility to the ships and their passengers.
“We stood on a humanitarian basis in a way that the international world has come to respect, while some countries took an opposite position and basically chased ships away from their shores,” the Tourism Minister added. (KS)