With the commencement of cruise calls to the BVI with the arrival of Sea Bourne Odyssey this morning October 13, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie said, these vessels are upping their COVID-19 safety protocols to the extent that they are almost safer than on land in handling the virus.
The Premier’s remarks were made on Tuesday October 12 during a ceremony at the C.B. Romney Tortola Pier Park for the return of cruising to the territory.
“Some persons would ask why this big, as we say in our culture, tododo, but I want to explain something to you, whenever God bless you, with blessings such as this, as the restarting of a major revenue generator, not only government but for so many families, you have to hold a ceremony not just a ceremony to say we are starting and we are ready but to say, “God thank you,” he remarked.
He said it was ‘very important to see the recommencement of the industry that was dormant because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Tomorrow, I need everyone to know that you don’t need to go to the eye specialist; what you see is what you get, a cruise ship returning through God’s help. And, we remain optimistic… the berthing of this first ship represents the rebirth of cruise tourism, and while it appears to be the first step, it is only one of many for the tourism industry as a whole. We are happy to report that we are well on our way for a successful season.”
The Premier also mentioned the recent trip to Miami for the Seatrade conference in Miami, which yielded successful returns for the territory.
He said when they went to the conference, the territory had some calls, but they were not confirmed, and not many were booked.
However, that changed with their presence and Carnival cruise line confirmed 52 of the 176 additional calls to the territory that will span until April/May next year.
“We are ready, but we have to practice all the safety measures, and let me tell you, whatever protocols we have established for the ships, they have better protocols or even the hotels and most other industries. Cruising has changed significantly, and there’s a lot for you to know, that you are almost more safer now on a cruise ship with COVID now than you are on land with how many measures they have changed up,” he said.
Meanwhile, Junior Minister for Tourism Hon. Sharie de Castro in her remarks said, the resumption of the industry is exciting and is a glimmer of hope for the Terrritory.
Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Mr. Clive McCoy, said it is their desire to ensure visitors have an enjoyable stay and they would return.
This industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, contributing to massive job losses.