BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - POPULAR taxi operator and former President of the St. Kitts Taxi Association, Sylvester ‘Socrates’ Hodge said operators plying their trade have welcomed the announcement of the return of cruise vessels to the island.
Since the onset of the pandemic in March last year, the Federation has not officially seen the return of vessels at Port Zante, but that would change tomorrow (Sept. 14) when the Celebrity Equinox makes a call to St. Kitts.
During an interview with SKNVibes, Hodge said that there are many drivers who are looking forward to the vessel’s arrival, as they have been struggling.
He acknowledged that the situation is not the ideal one they wanted, since the Equinox would only be coming with half capacity - that is 1,4000 passengers.
Knowing that things will never return to the way they were before the advent of COVID-19, Hodge said that those operators must incrementally take advantage of the current opportunity being provided to earn.
The arrival of this ship is a case study for the remainder of the season and Hodge believes that a proactive approach must be taken by those involved in the sector.
“It is for membership to get together and in conjunction with the Tourism Board, work out the best approaches.”
Though the announcement is welcomed, the various associations are said to be cautious in their approach to the resumption because a lot has been promised for the season, and it can all change with a bad approach to tomorrow’s return.
As the ship makes its call, a number of stringent measures have been implemented, including a bubble situation and the fencing of Port Zante to ensure passengers do not come into contact with many locals.
“To ensure that we keep the general public safe and healthy, cruise ship passengers will only be permitted to explore the destination via 'Travel Approved' bubble vaccinated tours or attraction sites.
“A 'Travel Approved' bubble vaccinated tour or attraction site is one where the cruise ship passengers interact with fully vaccinated tour operators, seaport officials and any other cruise-related personnel,” the St. Kitts Tourism Authority explained in a media statement today.
Additionally, while a cruise ship is in port, the general public is not permitted to access the following 'Travel Approved' bubble vaccinated attraction sites from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Those sites include Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park, Carambola Beach Club, Caribelle Batik, Fairview Great House, Palms Court Gardens, and the St. Kitts Scenic Railway.