Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 25, 2021 (SKNIS): Independent tour operators in St. Kitts can expect additional job hires in the coming days and weeks following a meeting between senior tourism officials and cruise line executives.
A miscommunication by officials saw disembarking passengers from two cruise vessels last week opting not to take tours with independent operators. Racquel Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, spoke about the mix-up on Tuesday’s (November 23, 2021) edition of Leadership Matters.
“We were told by our staff that Shore Ex was basically saying that guests were being told that they could only come off the ship if they had pre-booked tours. We have since corrected it. We have had meetings from last week Friday with both Royal Caribbean Group, which is the (parent) company for Celebrity Cruises and also Celebrity Cruise Line and we made it explicitly clear what is to happen,” Ms. Brown stated.
Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, actively supported efforts to correct the misinformation. Independent tours are an essential part of the tourism product, particularly at this time as the industry seeks to rebound from the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For St. Kitts to be successful, it cannot just be Shore Ex that is sold through Kantours and through Scenic Railway,” Ms. Brown added. “We do well because we have independent tour operators that operate through the dispatching of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and also pre-booked independent tour operators that sell their tours online.”
Ms. Brown noted that tourism officials would keep a close watch of developments on the ground to ensure that the issue is not repeated and the correct procedures are followed. This will ensure that everyone is given a fair chance to benefit from the growing cruise industry.