In T&T: Cruise ships sail in for mas

22 February 2012

The question remains: how does this translate to a sustainable  tourism sector all year round?

Tourism’s bumper Carnival season got a 1,600 visitor boost yesterday when two European cruise ships, the AIDA Vita from Germany and the Kristina Katarina from Finland docked for the day at the Cruise Ship Complex at the Port of Port of Spain.

“These are high-spending tourists whom we hope will take back the Trinidad and Tobago brand to their countries,” said Tourism Development Board (TDC) chairman Rajiv Shandilya.

He said the average amount tourists spent in Trinidad was approximately US$100, but encouraging tourists from these “high-spend” locations could mean doubling or tripling that.

The Finns, he added, were a new market the TDC hoped to pursue instead of typical Diaspora locations like the US and UK. The Kristina Katarina will also be making a stop at the Scarborough port.

Shandilya said the TDC would be looking to increase the number of cruise ship arrivals to the country, with a delegation heading to Florida on March 5 to meet with Royal Caribbean cruise lines to market the island as more than the classic Caribbean destination.

“We have a lot more to offer than sun, sea and sand, as Carnival shows. We also offer two islands for one head tax,” said TDC cruise ship market specialist Greer Assam, who spearheaded the arrangements to get these cruise ships here in time for Carnival Tuesday’s Parade of the Bands.

She said a number of the tourists had booked tickets for the Grand Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Shandilya said bookings for this year’s Carnival were at maximum capacity—and not just last minute, but early bookings.

“Carnival seems to have been well marketed this year. We were able to get a lot of tourists in advance—and not just Port of Spain, even down to San Fernando. The majority of tourists are in guest houses, host homes, villas or family,” he said.

He stressed while it was not only (internationally) “branded properties” like the Hyatt Regency or Trinidad Hilton that were fully booked, the local “individually branded properties” like the Chancellor Hotel and Kapok were also at capacity, and this was important because these were “the nectar of Trinidad culture”.


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