After a very controversial stint last year where Royal Caribbean Cruises threatened to boycott Trinidad and Tobago if its $6 million seized as evidence by the Trinidad and Tobago Customs & Excise Division was not returned to them, the Spain-based Royal Caribbean Pullmantur Group is now interested in strengthening ties with Tobago.
Spanish Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Joaquin de Aristegui, who led a Pullmantur delegation in discussions with THA Chief Secretary Orville London last Friday said with Spain’s experience and companies “I am confident that we would be able to work fast and steadily so that very soon we will be able to see more Spanish tourists coming to Tobago.”
He added that traditionally the Governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Spain have been partners in keys sectors such as energy, but he believed that “the next sector where we should invest and we should be able to find avenues of cooperation is tourism”.
In November of 2006, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines purchased Pullmantur S.A. and affiliates.
Chief Secretary London said “I was unaware that Pullmantur was such a powerful influence in the industry. My information is that they rank number eight in the world among cruise ship companies, top five in Europe number one in Spain. One of the decisions that was made was that we would have the type of relationship with Pullmantur that will enable us to exchange and take recommendations (even criticisms) but to ensure that we are in a position where we can market Tobago in a manner that is as attractive as possible and as convenient as possible to the Pullmantur clients.”
Royal Caribbean Cruises has been reported by THA Tourism and Transportation Secretary Oswald Williams to be responsible for 50 per cent of the cruise passengers that come to Tobago and therefore very significant to the Tobago cruise industry. He said: “They are very important to us and we are very happy that they have brought with them new possibilities for strengthening and having an enhanced relationship with them.”