By MyVue News.com Staff Reporter
Basseterre, 14th April, 2021 (MyVue News.com)–One year after the cruise tourism sector in St. Kitts & Nevis was brought to an abrupt halt by the COVID-19 global pandemic, new efforts are now being made in the twin-island state to once again welcome the mega cruise ships.
Tourism Minister, Lindsay Grant, on Wednesday, 14th April, 2021, told stakeholders, while addressing them at a meeting at the St. Kitts Marriott, that his ministry has set June as the date for when cruise tourism will resume.
Though he did not specify a date nor did he indicate which ships would be involved in the opening phase of the gradual resumption, he seemed confident that they were on the right track to meet the target.
One important requirement, said the minister, for the ships to be allowed to sail into the Basseterre Harbour and Port Zante, is that all passengers and crew of the vessels, would have to be fully vaccinated. This is designed to protect the local population and tourism workers on the island.
Once that is achieved, passengers would be allowed to explore the island within a “vaccinated bubble”, that would involve selected sites, beaches and other places of interest.
However, as a measure to further protect employees of the participating allied businesses providing transportation, tours, and other services, employers have been encouraged to collaborate with their staff, to either ensure that they engage in regular testing (RT-PCR) or by taking the vaccine.
Grant made it clear at the meeting on Wednesday, that his ministry was not making it mandatory for anyone to take the vaccine, but encouraged them to do so, as a strong measure of protection for themselves and their families, given the interaction that would be necessary with thousands of visitors from many different countries, including those where the new variant of the Coronavirus has become dominant.
However, in order for companies and their relevant staff to participate in the program, each one would have to either be fully vaccinated or take the option of doing the RT-PCR test every two weeks, at their own expense.
It was revealed at the meeting, that there are over 5,000 tourism workers, but only just over 500 have so far gotten the vaccine.
The tourism groups that are to be affected include Customs, Immigration, Tour Operators, Taxi Operators, SCASPA staff, and Shore Excursion teams.
Photo: Minister of Tourism, Lindsay Grant , speaking at Wednesday’s meeting