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Carnival cruise deal being replaced

The marketing deal between Barbados and Carnival Corporation cruise company, is being replaced.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy disclosed during a press conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning, that while the cooperation agreement with the company had been extended for another year, the Government was seriously considering ending the existing arrangement for “something more meaningful”.

Sealy made the announcement following discussions which he recently held with Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, the umbrella grouping for all the major lines in the Caribbean, based in Miami.

“One of the major members of the FCC, Carnival Corporation, we have a marketing agreement with them. We extended it by a year and we are looking to replace that with something that makes a little more sense,” the minister asserted.

“Not to say that we don’t mind what is happening, to the extend we are guaranteed a certain level of support from them. I believe a minimum, 400,000 passengers have to come in on Carnival Cruise lines, or, should I say, cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation, because Carnival Corporation is a conglomerate of many cruise lines, including the Carnival Cruise lines,” added the minister.

“So, we are getting results out of that agreement and that is why we are extending it for a year. But we think going forward there may be the possibilities of doing other things,

and other more meaningful marketing cooperative efforts.” Sealy reported that this came out “very strongly as we

went from line to line”. He said while the natural focus of the BTA had been on long-stay visitors and marketing strategies involving hotels, the Government now had to develop a meaningful way of operating with respect to the cruise lines.

“If, as I said, we recognise this element of the tourism sector is key going forward, we have to work with them in a deeper way. And that came out very strong. We did have our Cruise Director Ren Blackett with us, and I believe that we have already started the discussion with the various marketing departments in what we can do to develop more programmes, to drive the demand for cruising in this part of the world,” he added.

Sealy reasoned that since Barbados was the main home port in the Eastern Caribbean, he did not have a problem with putting marketing dollars in a programme such as this, which would also benefit other regional states.

“We would still get the lion’s share of the benefits, certainly with the home-porters,” he argued.

He said Government was pushing to have vessels remain in port well into the evening. He told reporters a decision had been made to permit vessels which stayed beyond 12 hours and as late as 6 p.m. to open their shops and casinos.

The minister revealed that one major company, P&O had already applied for permission to remain late. (EJ)

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