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‘All positives’ in relationship with cruise sector

Kendy Graham, [email protected]

‘All positives’ in relationship with cruise sector

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Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds believes there are all positives to Barbados providing harbour to cruise ships when they were “almost chased away” by other countries as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread globally.

He was speaking during a press conference at Ilaro Court this morning to update the nation on how the pandemic has been affecting the tourism industry in Barbados. He was joined by acting chief executive officer of Grantley Adams International Airport Terry Layne.

Symmonds said Government fulfilled its legal and humanitarian obligation in relation to homeporting and facilitating cruise lines which were crippled by COVID-19. He said Barbados had a responsibility to the cruise sector.

“We stood on a humanitarian basis in a way in which I think the international world has come to respect and admire.”

He said he did not see any negatives for Barbados in partnering with the cruise lines.

“I think all of it is positive. . . . We are now in a position where we can come out of this and take ownership . . . of an industry where we have only been on the receiving end. We now have people who see us as partners that are trustworthy and have begun to express their willingness to have discussions on expanding the type of relationship they have with us,” he said.

Symmonds is hopeful there is an option for an expanded cruise itinerary to include the summer when the vessels traditionally go to the Mediterranean.

The minister said there were still some ships here but reiterated Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s prohibition of shore leave last week. He said about two or three flights were still needed to get the remaining crews repatriated.

He said no other cruise ships were expected and the ones already here will remain at anchor “or go back from whence they came”.