Service providers look to return of cruise tourism
1 April 2021
March 16, last year registered the last commercial cruise call to Saint Lucia amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, tourism authorities announced preparations for the possible reintroduction of cruise ships to Port Castries, this summer.
While efforts toward a seamless reopening is being made by local authorities, the dormancy of the sector over the last year has left a deep impression among ancillary service providers who state that stagnation of cruise activity over the last 12 months have left them cash strapped, but optimistic.
Taxi drivers, although certified for operations, have seen little to no income over the months, while the Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority, a major ancillary service provider to the cruise sector, said income made from the hauling of waste from the port to the disposal site is critical to its continued operations, and the environment.
With Celebrity Millennium scheduled to make her initial voyage of the season in Mid-July, a committee has been established to chart the way forward in welcoming the return of cruise tourism and minimizing any possible risk of COVID-19 to local communities. As the health and safety of the nation is paramount, to proactively avoid comingling, cruise visitors will not be permitted to certified sites and attractions on the days designated for locals and on-island guests.
In related developments, consultations commenced last week with input from the Vendors Association (and will continue with all subsectors) on the stagnation of the cruise sector and the resulting loss of livelihoods.