TOBAGO welcomed its first cruise ship of the 2023 season on Saturday.
The Celebrity Silhouette, operated by Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of the Royal Caribbean Group, docked at the Scarborough Port at around 7.45 am with 2,886 passengers.
It was expected to leave the port at 6 pm destined for St Lucia.
The passengers, many of whom came from Europe, were treated to a cultural show, highlighting various elements of the island’s heritage.
They later visited the Port Mall, other stores and a few recreational spots within the capital city. Many of the tourists also purchased souvenirs from the roadside vendors, who had set up their stalls at strategic locations outside of the port and along Milford Road.
A retired couple, who came from Denmark, said they were happy to be in Tobago. They said they had heard a lot about the island and were eager to experience some of the sights.
A UK resident said she was glad to get away from the cold weather.
“It is not my first time in Tobago. I have been here at least three times already. I just love it here.”
Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association president Alpha Lorde, who recently attended the World Travel Market in London, told Sunday Newsday the island’s cruise ship season got off to a good start.
“I am quite pleased. I understand this year we are expecting a stronger cruise ship season so I am actually looking forward to that panning out,” he said.
Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce president Curtis Williams said the organisation welcomes the first cruise ship of the season and looks forward to others.
Williams said he hopes the police service and other security agencies will be on high alert during the season.
“We ask the authorities to ensure all of our guests are safe and they have an enjoyable time,” he said.
The THA Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation, in a statement on Friday, said this year’s cruise ship season is expected to surpass last year’s in terms of arrivals.
The division said it was anticipating approximately 70 cruise ships and an estimated 116,906 passengers to Tobago.
Last year, 42 vessels and approximately 64,000 passengers visited the island.
It said the significant increase in visitors is an indication of Tobago’s growing status as a premier cruise destination.
Tourism secretary Tashia Burris commended the efforts of the various stakeholders in ensuring the seamless execution of the cruise ship season.
The arrival of the Celebrity Silhouette came four days after German carrier Condor Airlines resumed flights to Tobago.
The airline arrived at the ANR Robinson International Airport on Tuesday with 167 passengers, 71 of whom disembarked in Tobago. It marked the airline’s inaugural winter season flight.
Condor Airlines is scheduled to operate a weekly flight every Tuesday between Frankfurt Airport in Germany and Tobago until April 9, 2024.
The division of tourism said the reintroduction of this service not only caters to the persistent demand for Tobago among German travellers but also aligns with the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited’s (TTAL’s) strategic marketing efforts to enhance the island’s presence in the broader GAS (German, Scandinavian, Swiss) travel market.