The British Virgin Islands will be assessed on its readiness to accept larger cruise lines back into the territory.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works, Anthony McMaster told BVI News that representatives from the Norwegian and Disney cruise lines will be visiting in April to conduct the assessment.
The visit will determine whether the 4,000-plus passengers on each ship will get value for money if they visit the BVI.
“The cruise lines [have] expressed a willingness to return to the territory once areas of concern are dealt with,” McMaster said.
“These concerns range from the restoration of roads to increasing transportation capacity on the island,” he added.
McMaster said the territory currently has an insufficient number of safari buses for visitors to embark on tours across Tortola.
He said more than 40 percent of tour buses were destroyed during last September’s hurricanes.
“We can accommodate the ships that are coming now between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers but when we look at the bigger ships, we were not able to accommodate those numbers.”
“The cruise lines are in partnership with us. But we have to accept that at the same time the cruise lines are in a business,” he reasoned.
“They are selling a product and they have to make sure that wherever they are taking their guests is fit for purpose.”
McMaster further said that tourism stakeholders are aware of what guests expect and will work towards reaching that goal.
“We have an action plan, so it gives us a month-and-a-half to do some fine-tuning in these various areas,” he said.
McMaster also called on residents to help get local tourism back to its former glory.
The Permanent Secretary’s remarks follow his participation in the 2018 Seatrade Cruise Global Conference held from March 5 to 8 in Florida, United States.
He was part of the BVI’s delegation comprising representatives from the Ministry of Communications and Works, the BVI Ports Authority, the Taxi and Livery Commission, the BVI Tourist Board, and the National Parks Trust.
The conference is said to be the leading international exhibition serving the global cruise industry.
It brings together buyers and suppliers for the purpose of networking, sourcing, innovation, and education.
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