The Tobago tourism industry is set to receive a further boost in economic activity for the rest of the year
After the island hosted its inaugural carnival, on October 28-30, the first cruise ship in two and a half years, since the onset of the covid19 pandemic, docked at the Scarborough port on Sunday.
The Silver Moon, of Silversea Cruises, arrived at 7.30 am, carrying 528 passengers. It was the vessel's maiden voyage to Tobago.
The passengers were treated to a variety of lively cultural performances as they disembarked.
In a Facebook post, tourism secretary Tashia Burris said the cruise ship season is scheduled to extend to April 17, 2023 with a number of maiden calls.
Other scheduled arrivals this year include: Rhapsody of the Seas (November 21 – Scarborough); Seven Seas Navigator (November 23 – Scarborough); Rhapsody of the Seas (November 28 – Scarborough); MV Euphoria (December 4 – Scarborough); Rhapsody of the Seas (December 19 – Scarborough); Braemar (December 20 – Scarborough); Rhapsody of the Seas (December 27 – Scarborough); and Seabourn Sojourn (December 29 – Charlotteville).
The terminal building was a hub of activities on Sunday, as taxi drivers, tour guides, tour operators and tourism officials interacted with the passengers.
One passenger, Que Fann, of Maryland, USA, who was returning from a tour, told Newsday: “I boarded the ship in Barbados and have visited several islands before coming to Tobago."
She added, "Tobago is nice. I like Pigeon Point and Nylon Pool."
Clifford Wilson of the Tobago Port Taxi Drivers Association said, “It is a welcome financial relief for our members. It is the first cruise ship after covid, and the drivers are raring to go."
He said the tourism division held a meeting with all stakeholders last Friday and everything was "going smooth.”
Wilson highlighted the popular destinations for the tours around the island.
“Buccoo Reef, Argyle waterfall, rainforest, cocoa estate at Roxborough and the Adventure farm at Arnos Vale are among the favoured touring sights.” Wilson said.
Dave Alleyne, vice-president of Transmax, said “Our members are elated, the financial revenue will help out a lot. About three-quarter of the passengers have booked tours, and right now things going well.”
Charles Carvalho, manager of Carvalho’s Agency, the local agent for the cruise ship, described the experience as bitter-sweet.
“It’s nice to see the cruise ships returning and increasing the financial earnings of the various stakeholders, as well as generating much needed economic activity in the tourism sector.
“But there are also challenges. There is a huge increase in operational cost and there are not as much tour guides as before. But generally, it is a good sign, as we expect at least 35 cruise ships, before the season ends in April.”
The ship which started its journey in Barbados, also visited the islands of Bequia, Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao before coming to Tobago. The cruise ship will also visit Grenada, Martinique and St Lucia, before returning to Barbados.