By Orville Williams
Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise tourism sector is well, and truly on the road to recovery, following the prolonged impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an increasing number of vessels arriving at the St John’s Harbour.
The island has been welcoming thousands of cruise visitors over the past couple of weeks, in what could be termed a throwback to the pre-pandemic times.
In November, two, then soon after, three cruise vessels were docked in the harbour for the first time since the start of the pandemic, bringing a much-needed feeling of resurgence to the vendors, taxi operators and other residents who benefit directly from the trade.
It was even a welcome sight for those not involved in the sector, but who have fond memories of the busy streets of St John’s ‘when ships are in port.’
Addressing the Parliament yesterday, Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez disclosed that as many as five cruise vessels are expected to dock in St John’s on Saturday, which will mark yet another milestone for the sector.
He also disclosed that ‘a number of islands’ are in contact with Global Ports Holding (GPH), after observing their success in Antigua and Barbuda, possibly with the view to engaging them for business in their islands.
The minister had previously voiced his optimism for the recovery of the cruise tourism sector, saying in early November that the activity showed that – barring any complications due to the transmission of Covid-19 – it could be a good winter season.