‘Right direction’ for cruise tourism
THE?PRESENCE?of the cruise vessel Norwegian Breakaway in Barbados signals the future of the local cruise sector is moving in the right direction, an official said.
Yesterday, the ship with a capacity of 4 000 passengers made its inaugural call at the Bridgetown Port and was welcomed by top officials of the Barbados Tourism Authority and Government and also by Barbadian cultural artistes.
In welcoming the ship, David Jean-Marie, chief executive officer of the Barbados Port Inc., acknowledged the return of cruise vessels which homeport in New York, to Barbados.
He said the fuel crisis had stopped the practice, but “we are pleased that once again you have opted to include Barbados in your longer itineraries from New York”.
This is the first of two calls this month by the Norwegian Breakaway, the next being on January 26.
Jean-Marie said with almost 8 000 passengers and 4 000 crew members on the combined trips, “these numbers are important to our cruise sector, and they signal continued growth and good news in our industry”.
He said Barbados recorded a 7.4 per cent increase over the 663 263 passenger arrivals in 2013.
“Moreso, already you have started to plan for the next few seasons, having just (last week) requested berths in Bridgetown for the 2015/16 winter season (four calls). This will further boost our growth forecast.”
He also said that Barbados’ tourism and port planners were at an advanced stage to start the much talked about cruise ship facility – Sugar Point. He explained it would be the new welcome centre for cruise passengers in about four years, accommodating two to three ships, new cruise ship piers, shopping facilities, entertainment and quality restaurants.