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Tourism Minister Predicts Bumper Cruise Season

Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire
Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire

With the imminent start to the 2023 cruise season, the Minister with Responsibility for Tourism Dr. Ernest Hilaire is predicting a bumper season. 

Dr. Hilaire made his forecast following a meeting with tourism stakeholders. Visitors and locals alike can expect improvements to the cruise product, he said.

“There are quite a few things we need to work on. One of those would be the heavy demand for beach facilities on cruise days. A significant number of (passengers) want to spend a day at the beach so they want recreational facilities—food, drink, and water,” noted Hilaire. At the Vigie and Reduit beaches you can see the crowding that takes place so we are looking at a number of other spots that we can develop.”

While the aim for developing other areas is to create options to limit crowding at more popular beaches, there will be upgrades to beach facilities across the board.

“We also need to upgrade the facilities at the beaches—there is a critical need especially for washroom facilities. At Reduit beach, for example, visitors end up using the facilities of restaurants and other establishments. We made some decisions at the government level to identify more areas that we can develop. Another improvement would be to enhance security. Because of heavy congestion on a cruise day, we need to manage it properly,” the minister added.

The National Conservation Authority will have a greater presence in managing crowds this season. Dr. Hilaire said this responsibility will transition to Global Ports Holding (GPH) once it assumes management of the ports.

Additionally, under the government’s recent agreement with GPH, the Vendor’s Arcade will be redone, the old customs building will be broken down, and a boardwalk will be built along the harbour front. When completed, the boardwalk will extend from the Castries Port into the city. It is expected to create a hub of economic activity for cruise vendors.

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