Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 14, 2021 (SKNIS): The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis kick-started the 2021-2022 cruise season by welcoming the Celebrity Equinox, which docked at Port Zante, Basseterre, on September 14, 2021, in a bubble with COVID-19 restrictions. At the simple plaque exchange ceremony to welcome the passengers and crew, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Carlene Henry-Morton, gave remarks on behalf of the Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris and expressed joy with the arrival of the cruise vessel, while also noting that much more work still needs to be done.
“Without God’s steadfast guidance and protection, we would not be here to celebrate this achievement…The milestone being celebrated today did not just happen; it has taken a lot of teamwork, hard work, many meetings over several months, drafting, reviewing, discussing, and refining protocols, several walkthroughs of the port and other sites, paying attention to every detail and ensuring that all of the logistics were just right. Kudos to the National COVID-19 Task Force, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority, The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Defense Force and port agents Delisle Walwyn & Company for the management and preparation for today. But the reward for hard work is more work,” said Permanent Secretary Henry-Morton.
The return of the Celebrity Equinox to Port Zante marks the first call to Port Zante over the last 18 months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As work continues to ensure the safety of all persons that will be in contact with cruise passengers, Mrs. Henry-Morton reiterated that an “all of society” approach is needed to build back momentum in the tourism sector within St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Today is just another chapter in renewal and rebuilding… so we look forward to the arrival of more ships and wider stakeholder participation, as we finetune operations and build back momentum in the industry. Thank you to various stakeholders for abiding by the various processes and protocols put in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our visitors… Your unswerving commitment to maintaining and protecting the safe return of a vibrant and dynamic tourism industry are all duly noted, especially as we mark World Tourism Day on September 27, 2021, under the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”, she said.
The Celebrity Equinox arrived at Port Zante with a total of 1147 passengers, who will take part in bubble tours at previously identified tourist attractions across the island. The rebound of the cruise tourism sector will see many of the stores located at Port Zante reopening, boosting economic activity and employment from the tourism sector.