Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, presents Rotterdam Captain Bas van Dreumel with a plaque to commemorate the cruise ship’s inaugural visit to Barbados, today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins has described the inaugural visit of the Holland America Line, cruise ship Rotterdam as a special occasion.

Speaking at the Bridgetown Port today, Minister Cummins explained that it was “a special morning for us not just because colleagues and friends, we have the Rotterdam here, but because in February of 2020, many of us stood in this same spot and boarded a tug right off this same berth and went out to bring in the first ship that had cases of COVID on-board and it was a Carnival Corporation vessel Carnival Fascination….

“I’m proud that here, as we began this new season in 2021 that over the last year and a half, we have worked along with the America’s Cruise Task Force at the highest level of the cruise industry and at the leadership of the Americas all across the Anglophone and the Spanish speaking in the Francophone Caribbean to ensure that the 95 per cent targets for vaccination for crew and 95 per cent vaccination targets for passengers were met and that on board the vessel there was a regular routine for testing among crew and also rigid protocols for your passengers and crew alike.”

Recalling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector in Barbados which came to a halt and affected our livelihoods, the Tourism Minister also took the time to share some positive information. 

She reported that “Barbados has already and by the end of this year would have achieved 87.9 per cent of our 2019 capacity”.

Minister Cummins expressed the view that with the increase in airlift with new and old partners, the air to sea operations with Tui and United, and the resumption of cruises that Barbadians would reap the benefits. 

“The Government of Barbados is committed to ensuring that there is an inclusive approach to the tourism sector whether it is in air or it is in sea. We want to ensure that those 40,000 workers directly and those 35,000 workers indirectly in all segments of the market have an opportunity to benefit and to regain their lives and their livelihoods as a direct consequence of the work that we are doing. It is for naught if we are able to bring all of these passengers and they fill hotel rooms, but they’re not able to have authentic local experiences that benefit not only them but us in a real and in a meaningful way,” Senator Cummins stressed.

She pointed out that Government was putting everything in place to ensure that Barbados had a strong tourism winter season, and that in collaboration with its tourism partners they would work together to achieve the goals set.

Captain of the Rotterdam cruise ship Bas van Dreumel stated: “It is nice to be back in business and to re-establish our roots that started 150 years ago when Holland America Line was established.”

Since the early 20s, he said, Holland America Line was one of the pioneers to start cruising in the Caribbean, and it was nice to be back after 18 months with a brand new flagship MS Rotterdam number seven.

Rotterdam arrived in Barbados with 932 crew and 1,926 passengers.

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