Tourism Minister meets with Carnival Cruise Lines as negotiations continue

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Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez on Friday headed a delegation to a meeting in Miami with the Carnival Cruise Lines regarding the cancellation of Carnival Cruise bookings to Antigua.

This is the second meeting that has been held in recent weeks in hopes that Carnival Cruise Lines would reverse its decision and continue its calls to Antigua.

The first meeting last month was also held in Miami

At the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Information Minister Melford Nicholas said Fernandez made a presentation to Cabinet on Wednesday concerning the situation.

“Cabinet gave some further scope to the discussions and the ongoing negotiations which I am not at liberty to disclose any details at this point in time. There will be a full press meeting by the minister and the supporting team to be able to indicate where we are with the discussions,” Nicholas said.

Both the government and Carnival continue to agree that public statements will be avoided.

Early last month, the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association (ABCTA), Nathan Dundas, revealed that Carnival Cruise Lines had cancelled a number of calls that had previously been scheduled to dock in Antigua and Barbuda during the winter cruise season beginning November 2019.

The cancellations involved four cruise ships that were scheduled to visit through April 2020 – Carnival Breeze, Carnival Magic, Carnival Legend and Carnival Pride.

After fiercely denouncing Dundas for supposedly spreading misleading information, the government subsequently admitted that the recent pullout by Caribbean Cruise Lines had a lot to do with its US $83 million agreement with Global Ports Holding (GPH).

GPH recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government for the company to exclusively manage and operate all the country’s cruise ship ports, which include the main one in the capital, St. John’s Harbour – as well as at Falmouth Harbour in the south of Antigua, and on the sister isle of Barbuda.

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