Business


Tourists from the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship check out a map of Tobago as they plan their tours with taxi drivers at the Scarborough port on Monday, - DAVID REID
Tourists from the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship check out a map of Tobago as they plan their tours with taxi drivers at the Scarborough port on Monday, – DAVID REID

TOURISM stakeholders are optimistic that the return of cruise ships to Tobago will help revive the island’s economy

After an absence of more than two and a half years, owing to the covid19 pandemic, cruise ships resumed sailings to Tobago on Sunday with the arrival of the Silver Moon.

The vessel, of Silverseas Cruises, docked at the Scarborough Port at 7.30 am with 538 passengers, on its maiden voyage to Tobago.

On Monday, another ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, arrived with approximately 2,500 passengers.

Former Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) president Rene Seepersadsingh hailed the return of cruise ships.

“Tobago is a tourism destination and cruise ships are a part of our industry offerings,” he said on Wednesday.

“I think the fact that we have cruise ships, the expectation is that passengers will come from those ships and traverse the island and spend some money, because the cruise ship is a big industry in the region.”

Seepersadsingh added, “We are one of the last destinations, if not the last, to have reopened the cruise-ship market. So we certainly would welcome back any tourist arrivals. It is just another step in the reopening of the tourism sector.”

Current THTA head Chris James also described the return of cruise ships as “excellent news.

“Hoteliers are very pleased. Tobago is back in the tourism business,” he said.

Tobago Business Chamber chairman Martin George was also elated.

“The Tobago Business Chamber notes with gratitude and eager anticipation for more cruise-ships’ arrivals. We look forward to a very busy and active cruise ship season,” he said in a WhatsApp voice note on Wednesday.

“We look forward to the eventual opening of the new Tobago airport and we hope that the return of Condor Airlines also signals a resurgence and revitalisation in the Tobago tourist economy, along with the increased activity from the domestic tourism economy from Trinidad.”

Condor Airlines returned to Tobago with direct flights from Germany on Sunday.

THA Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris said she was proud to welcome the return of the airline.

“We are very, very excited for the fact that we’re back on the German market in a big way,” she said on Monday. “Condor landing means we’re welcoming passengers from the UK, passengers from Germany. Great news for Tobago, great news for tourism in general.”

George said the chamber expects tourism to thrive during the Christmas season.

“We look forward to the upcoming Christmas season because we are fully aware that many Trinidadians love to come to Tobago for Christmas, they love to spend New Year’s across here, and we of the Tobago Business Chamber, we urge and encourage all of our members and all Tobagonians to extend the greatest of kindness, courtesy, hospitality and fair-trade practices with all our visitors – domestic, regional and international.

“We are sure this will help to build out our tourism infrastructure and our tourism product here in Tobago.”

Scheduled cruise ship arrivals in Tobago

Seven Seas Navigator: November 23 – Scarborough

Rhapsody of the Seas: November 28 – Scarborough

MV Euphoria: December 4 – Scarborough

Rhapsody of the Seas: December 19 – Scarborough

Braemar: December 20 – Scarborough

Rhapsody of the Seas: December 27 – Scarborough

Seabourn Sojourn: December 29 – Charlotteville