Joint announcement by the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and Royal Caribbean. (PMO)

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and Royal Caribbean International to recruit locals for various posts on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

This announcement was made today by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, during a press conference, at which she and President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, signed the MOU.

Minister Cummins highlighted that leading up to the start of the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami, Florida, which runs from April 25 to 28, a team from Barbados arrived in Miami last week to attend meetings with various cruise line entities, and the signing of the MOU is a culmination of talks held not only during this trip, but over the last two years.

“Today, we have an opportunity to sign an agreement, a memorandum of cooperation between Royal Caribbean and Barbados, specifically on the issue of the identification of employment opportunities for workers, onboard cruise ships and Royal Caribbean…. 

“We’re going to be ensuring that the Barbadian brand of hospitality is world-class; it is available, and that people are going to be able to see destination Barbados through our people, not just our people on island, but our people who will be working onboard the ships, who will then be able to tell the story of who we are as Barbadians, while earning their livelihoods,” Minister Cummins stated.

In addition, she shared some of the employment areas, including those for creatives, entertainers, photographers and people in the hotel and hospitality sectors. 

Mr. Bayley, speaking on the MOU with Barbados, noted: “We’ve had discussions about deepening our commitment to Barbados, and I think today reflects that in the signing of an agreement with regards to hiring, recruiting, not only across typical traditional hotel-style positions, but also in the entertainment space, where we have obviously a vast entertainment organisation, musicians, choreographers, dancers, etc. And our intention is to recruit … much of the talent from Barbados, so we look forward to executing against this agreement as we move forward.”

BTMI Chairman, Shelly Williams; CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley; and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, pose for a photograph following the signing of a MOU between the BTMI and Royal Caribbean International to recruit locals for various posts on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. (PMO)

He also took the time to thank Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for her “incredible work” in steering the Americas Cruise Taskforce, and bringing together different cruise companies and destinations to have “very meaningful productive discussions about getting ourselves back on our feet”. 

He also thanked Barbados for assisting Royal Caribbean with returning around 20,000 crew members to their homeland at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman of the BTMI, Shelly Williams, also spoke on the various positions that would be available, pointing out that it was the “largest cross-section” of staffing she has ever seen, which also includes engineers, plumbers, carpenters and electricians. 

She also pointed out that she hopes the actions of Mr. Bayley would open the door for “other discussions from other cruise lines for us (Barbados) to have this kind of relationship, and I thank you for being the trendsetter. I thank you for being the trailblazer and allowing us the opportunity to bring this to our people,” Mrs. Williams said. 

The fine-tuning of details for the start of the recruitment process is expected to take place soon, and Minister Cummins said that she was looking forward to the new partnership with Royal Caribbean, where Barbadians are afforded the opportunity to work, but also travel and see the world, and spread the brand of Barbadian hospitality.

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