The Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) is in the process of developing an online platform to connect taxis and small tour operators directly to cruise ship passengers.
This was revealed by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, in a statement issued through the Barbados Port Inc.
He explained the move would provide a practical, cost effective, modern solution to meeting a real-world business need.
“The app will allow operators at the Port of Bridgetown increased market access through the offering of branded, custom-designed tours, uniquely targeting clientele desirous of more intimate bespoke island tours,” the Minister said.
According to the statement, the BPI and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) are working in collaboration with local transport operators to ensure they capture a greater and fairer share of the ground tour business on the phased resumption of cruise operations during the upcoming summer and winter 2021 to 2022 season.
The initiative will also significantly enhance Barbados’ cruise product offering, with the addition of more attractions and some diversification of traditional larger tours, while ensuring a greater share of the cruise business goes to taxi operators.
“Direct linkages to cruise lines will also be supported by formalisation of the taxi operators as a group under the Barbados Alive brand. BTMI is working assiduously with the taxi operators to assist in acquiring the requisite local and international insurance for the offering of tour services to the cruise lines. The inclusion of other small operators under the Barbados Alive or similar umbrella brand is also being explored,” the statement outlined.
It added that the Celebrity Millennium’s return to the Port of Bridgetown on Monday, June 7, will be facilitated amidst strict adherence to the national COVID-19 protocols for cruise and the deployment of pre-booked, cruise line-approved “bubble tours” between the vessel and the shore excursion points with restricted and controlled movement among visitors.
President of the Bridgetown Port Taxi Co-op Society Limited, Adrian Bayley, said taxi operators were understanding of the current limitations associated with the safe return to cruise through the concept of bubble tours.
He noted that the association was however appreciative of the support offered to taxi operators in forging a way for greater inclusion and flexibility in tour services in the future.
President of the Independent Seaport Taxi Union, Anthony Eastmond, said his association was also keen on continuing its collaboration with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, the BPI and the BTMI to welcome cruise lines back and meet the stringent requirements necessary to ensure better prospects for taxi operators, as restrictions were relaxed, without compromising safety.