Tourism Minister Kerrie Symmonds has announced the establishment of a National Cruise Development Commission to focus on the state of the island’s floundering cruise tourism sector.
“The reality is that we have to look seriously at new attractions and involving people in culture, entertainment and sports to create things which are refreshing, exciting and interesting for people visiting Barbados to do,” said Symmonds during a press conference on Saturday.
According to the tourism minister, the island’s cruise sector is said to be in “a state of deep crisis” and if immediate action is not taken the ship is “doomed to sink”.
He told reporters that the findings of a recent situational analysis and reports found that despite seeing increasing arrival numbers, the cruise tourism sector was floundering.
“The situational analysis having been completed, I am now in a position to say to you that it reveals that the cruise sector in Barbados is in a state of very deep crisis.”
“In my view, unless imminent and immediate and fundamental alternatives are put in place, we are confronting ourselves with catastrophic failure.”
The Tourism Minister listed port size constraints, inefficient passenger infrastructure, low interest on onshore activities and undesirably poor customer service as some issues which could cripple the local cruise industry.
He said the 15 member National Cruise Development Commission will meet at the beginning of September and hold talks with stakeholders over a 12 week period before handing a report on its findings to Cabinet.
The members of the commission are Errol Humphrey, Dean Straker, Senator Lisa Cummins, Vic Fernandes, Kevin Harewood, Jeffery Roach, Roseanne Myers, Alfredo Weatherhead, Natalie Burke, Kerri Gooding, Adrian Bayley, Patrick Estwick, Andre Miller, Amanda Reifer and Carol Roberts.