ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Head of the Cruise Tourism Association, Nathan Dundas, has reported that the government will be making a number of changes to facilitate more cruise lines.
In the wake of a meeting held last week between tourism officials and executives from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines, he said that the government has committed to meeting the cruise executives concerns.
Chief among these concerns he said, was the availability of docks for incoming ships.
“What we’re looking at doing, as we’d started years ago, is to have four cruise ship berths dedicated downtown,” he said.
“There’s a guaranteeing of arrangements with respect to that. That is what the government has committed itself to so far.”
When asked about the environmental impact of dredging four berths, Dundas said that the government had already taken that into account.
“That is one of the key areas we focused on in our discussions,” Dundas said.
“In fact we have gone a step further and entered into an arrangements with Royal Caribbean Cruise lines for environmental impact assessments to be done in Antigua & Barbuda as part of three pilot countries they have chosen in the Caribbean to ensure that we have proper environmental standards and regulations are being met for the cruise industry.”
Dundas also noted that the government had intentions to revamp the city of St John’s.
“There was a promise that was made by the government ministers to ensure that the city gets back to looking in its pristine state, as it should be,” he said.
“There was work that was recognised that needs to be done on the sidewalk, the open manholes, the city of itself just needs a whole new cleanup.”
The cruise execs also expressed concern over the nation’s beaches. According to Dundas, they have stated that many of Antigua’s beaches despite being beautiful are largely inaccessible. This has left tourists to frequent only a few over-crowded ones. He said the government has also committed to addressing the issue.