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Barbados Expects More Cruise Passengers Next Year


BARBADOS' STRATEGIC PLAN for attracting more cruise tourism traffic to the island has been working, says Barbados Port Inc. chairman Larry Tatem.

Speaking during a ceremony to officially welcome the Explorer Of The Seas megaship, on its first visit to Barbados yesterday, Tatem said the new season had started on a positive note and 2008 was shaping up to be a bumper year for the sector.

Explorer Of The Seas brought 3 200 passengers and 1 200 crew members to the island.

"Since November 11 we have welcomed five new ships to Barbados and there will be many more as we go further into the season," said Tatem.

By the end of December, Barbados expects to welcome around 720 000 cruise passengers, which represents a 12 per cent increase over the 2006 figure.

Tatem further disclosed that based on improved berthing capacity at the port, new ship calls, and Barbados' strategic arrangements with Carnival Corporation and P&O cruises, the destination expects to attract even more cruise passengers in 2008.

The cruise tourism season runs from October to April, when most "cruise lines reposition their ships to the warmer climate in the Caribbean.

Yesterday Tatem led a party of local tourism partners for a short ceremony and exchange of gifts on board Explorer Of The Seas.

He was met on board by St Vincent-born Xavier Matthias, newly appointed hotel director of the Royal Caribbean- owned megaship.

Matthias said Bridgetown was part of the ship's 12-day Caribbean itinerary for the first time and it was expected to make eight calls to Barbados during the current season.

From Barbados, Explorer Of The Seas heads to St Kitts and St Thomas before sailing back to its home port in New Jersey, United States.