President of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Michele Paige has called on stakeholders in the local tourism sector to do more to procure the more-than-half-million-dollars she says is up for grabs whenever a ship calls into the territory.
“Those ships have five thousand people on it. What are you going to do when two ships are in port and you have 10,000 passengers and 5,000 crew members? What are you going to do with them? You are leaving money on the table. An average ship leaves $600,000 on the table for the private sector. If you are not making that then you are leaving money on the table,” she said.
Visitor expectation not fully satisfied in the BVI
Paige, who is part of a delegation of international cruise executives currently in the territory, said statistics have shown that the visitors’ expectations are not fully satisfied when they visit the territory.
She explained: “They (the visitors) are here for eight hours. Our record shows that our average passenger goes back after four hours in the BVI.”
“So what are we doing to create that experience that you are keeping the passengers here longer and having them want to come back? Paige questioned. “That’s what we really need to work on – creating a new wow and to create the identity. But how are you putting that forward? How are you telling the story? What you are trying to do is keep them off the ship.”
The FCCA president Paige, made the remarks while responding to questions by BVI News at a press conference on Wednesday.
TPP comes in for high praise
Paige, in the meantime, described the C.B. Romney Tortola Pier Park as a facility that is not only attractive but emphasizes the essence of the territory.
“Compared to others, you have a beautiful facility. It is very welcoming, the shops are very unique and high end, and you put emphasis on items that are produced here in the BVI, which is exactly what people want,” she said.
She, however, urged the private sector to do more to complement the government’s work.
“The government can only do so much. The Premier and the ministers are setting the stage. They have created the dialogue, the commitment from the government to the cruise industry. We are here, and we are here on the invitation of the Premier. He has made us feel his passion; he has made us feel his commitment from the government to make it happen. But, it is the private sector, to ensure that the product is there to meet the needs of the travelling public,” she further said.
Apart from meeting the press, the delegation met with local stakeholders at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College.
Among the objectives of their visit is to share their concerns about the industry with a view to strengthen the service offering and tighten the existing bond between the cruise sector and the territory.