The THA Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation has described as regrettable the cancellation of pre-booked tours for 300 tourists on board the Celebrity Silhouette, the first cruise ship to dock in Tobago for the season.
The tours, scheduled for last Saturday, had to be cancelled because the maxi taxis that had been booked failed to arrive.
President of the Port Maxi and Taxis Federation of Associations, Cloyd Williams, has denied claims that his members staged a strike, saying the issue was more of a shortfall.
The Toirism Division said in a release that Saturday’s situation was an opportunity for the various transport providers and other stakeholders to review their systems, to provide the best possible service as the industry grows.
On Monday, the division apologised to all the passengers and stakeholders affected by the cancellations.
In a press release, the division Secretary Tashia Burris said tourism is an important part of Tobago’s economy and the division values and respects all stakeholders. She said every stakeholder plays a unique part in the growth of industry, the tourism product and by extension the economy.
She added, “Although the THA is not responsible for providing transportation for the cruise ship tours, anything that could possibly cause damage to the destination will not be taken lightly and steps will be taken to mitigate against this in future.”
The release said she was made aware of the situation earlier that morning and when she arrived at the port that morning, she made an apology and gave 350 bags to the affected passengers, along with a letter of apology on behalf of the destination.
The reelase said in the months leading up to the start of the cruise season, representatives of the division attended and presided over several meetings with all the key stakeholders in preparation for this year’s season.
The last stakeholders' meeting was reportedly held on November 9.
"All stakeholders present were aware of the schedule as well as the expected number of passengers for each call,” the release said.
This year an increase is expected in the number of cruise ship calls to Tobago from 42 to 70, and an increase in passengers from 64,000 to 116,906.