The 2012-2013 Tobago cruise ship season began on Tuesday (30th October 2012) with the arrival of the Amadea at the Scarborough Port with approximately 700 tourists.
The next cruise ship to arrive will be the Aidaluna on November 17 with 2000 tourists. THA Tourism and Transportation Secretary Oswald Williams said in an interview that there will be 29 calls by cruise ships including four at Charlotteville before the season ends on April 30 2013.
He said while he did not expect the season to be as good as last year he expected a better season in 2013-2014 with the return of the Royal Caribbean Line which accounted for 50 per cent of the visitors three years ago with its three largest ships each with a capacity of 2000 passengers. The company had pulled out of the Tobago route following a dispute over the refund of money by the Customs & Excise Division. That dispute has since been resolved.
The Division is also observing Tourism Month in November. There will be a media launch of the activities at the ANR Robinson International Airport on Friday November 1 2012. Williams said the events will be aimed at sensitising the population of the importance of tourism to the island.
Williams disclosed that he will head the Tobago contingent at the one-week World Travel Market to be held in London from November 15 2012.
He also expressed his concern over the delay by the Central Government in upgrading the ANR Robinson International Airport. He said the arrival and departure lounges at the airport were unable to accommodate the large number of passengers on three wide-bodied aircraft that arrive and depart around the same time. He added that it required the joggling of departure times simply because the airport cannot handle three flights at one time.
Williams said his Division has been complaining about the policy of the Customs Department to make 100 per cent checks of the luggage of arriving passengers unlike what happens at Piarco.
“We are more particularly concern about this because we continue to make passengers uncomfortable,” he added.