Barbados is about to reap the rewards from opening the Bridgetown Port to cruise ships at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when other countries were denying entry to the cruise lines.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Michael Bayley today signed a memorandum of understanding that is expected to see Barbadians securing jobs internationally with that cruise line.
At today’s signing beamed live from Miami, where Cummins and a Barbados delegation are attending the international Sea Trade Cruise Global Conference, Bayley thanked Barbados and specifically Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for the support given.
Becoming emotional as he spoke to an audience that included major players from the international travel media, Bayley said: “We at Royal Caribbean had over 50 000 crew members from 100 different countries around the world who were in constant quarantine lockdowns on board of our ships, who desperately wanted to get home to their family and friends and it was Barbados that stepped up and was incredibly supportive and helpful in allowing Royal Caribbean and other cruise companies to bring their ships to Bridgetown and to arrange charter flights literally to all over the world.
“We got maybe 20 000 of our crew off our ships in Barbados and we got them home and it would not have been possible if not for the co-operation of Barbados.”
Cummins said the agreement covered “a broad range of employment opportunities worldwide”, for Barbadians wanting to work in the cruise industry.
She also announced that the BTMI’s office for cruise operations would be set up in an already available section of the Barbados Consulate in Miami and would initially be headed by a senior business development officer from the BTMI’s Barbados office while a recruitment drive was carried out for a director of cruise to ultimately manage that area of the BTMI’s operations. (GC)