By John Higginson, email@example.com
Monday 7th November, 2005 Posted:
16:49 CIT (21:49 GMT)
Cayman is set to receive 20,158 cruise ship passengers on one
day in December and 18,829 on another in the same month, despite the successful efforts to reduce the high number of ships
visiting on certain days, Legislative Assembly heard yesterday.
In a statement to the House, Tourism Minister Charles Clifford
said the issue of the large number of cruise ships approved by the previous government to visit here on certain days, towards
the end of this year and the beginning of the next, was a pressing one when he took office.
There had been talks with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association
about looking at the schedules for days when nine ships were due to visit, he said.
It was suggested that call dates could be swapped from Thursday
to the less busy Wednesdays and that call times could be staggered.
It had been possible to reduce the total number of cruise ships
from 65 to 53 on the Thursday problem days, particularly between 27 October and 29 December, Mr. Clifford told the House.
The reductions in the number of passengers ranged from 1,625
to 5,325 on a single day, he said.
Despite all the efforts, there were still days when the total
number of visitors would be more than 16,000, he said.
And there were also days that, notwithstanding the fact that
the total number of ships was seven or less, the passenger count was particularly high because of the size of some ships,
The Department of Tourism was working to organise a central
daytime activity to provide additional things for several hundred cruise passengers to enjoy, Mr. Clifford told the House.
The Department of Tourism was working with the owners of the
former Almond Tree site to organise a Cayman Heritage Fair, he said.
The first of these Heritage Fairs was scheduled for Wednesday,
30 November, he added.
A smaller scaled version of this, at an alternate site, would
start on the first problem day, Thursday, 10 November, he said.
Mr. Clifford also confirmed that requests had been received
for 16 additional cruise ship calls as a result of the hurricane damage at Cozumel and Cancun, and those had been scheduled
on days when three ships or less were already scheduled here.
Some of the high volume cruise days fell during the peak Christmas
shopping period, Mr. Clifford pointed out.
“In addition to DoT’s efforts to address daytime
congestion among cruise visitors, the Ministry will work with the Chamber of Commerce to create incentives for more night
time shopping by residents during the Christmas season,” he said.