With just a few weeks left before the scheduled reopening of the territory’s cruise pier, Premier Andrew Fahie said the government is “working on a bubble area” for cruise tourists who will be visiting come June.
The Premier was at the time asked by Opposition Leader Marlon Penn whether cruise passengers will be left to roam freely around the territory or remain in a secure bubble in consideration of the government’s COVID-19 protocols.
Since discussions with local stakeholders and the cruise industry are ongoing, Fahie said information pertaining to the details of the plan will be made clear to the public shortly.
“They (the cruise industry), too, are adjusting some of their protocols and we have to make sure that all of our protocols are mutually aligned so that the safety of the people and the visitors are not compromised,” the Premier stated.
No independent tours to be arranged
Asked whether tourists will be able to patronise businesses at popular tourist spots such as the Crafts Alive Village and Cane Garden Bay, the Premier said discussions are ongoing with cruise lines to conduct shore excursions.
He noted that independently organised tours by cruise passengers were being discouraged.
“Cruise lines are proposing that cruise passenger guests will not be permitted to independently arrange tours or freely move about the territory,” Fahie explained.
Cruise plan being developed
Meanwhile, Premier Fahie announced that government is in the middle of plans with various government and private sector agencies to resolve how the territory will receive cruise passengers.
“Ports authority is developing a draft COVID-19 management plan detailing requirements to receive cruise ships,” Fahie said.
The proposed plan, he explained, will speak to the minimum requirements to receive a passenger ship at the cruise pier and will seek input and guidance from a local inter-agency group.
According to Fahie, the group will be comprised of the Ministry of Health, Her Majesty’s Customs, the BVI Tourist Board, and the Immigration Department. It will also include some amount of private sector collaboration from local cruise agents and tour operators.
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