Hon. Lynch calls for study on Caribbean cruise sector

A call has gone out for an independent study of
the impact of both cruise and land-based tourism on Caribbean economies.Hon. Noel Lynch, Minister of Tourism of Barbados, made the call today during a
discussion on the future of the cruise sector in the Caribbean and the role of
cruising in driving new business to the region which took place at the 27th annual
Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-27) here.

“There needs to be an independent study of the impact of cruise tourism and
land-based tourism and how they can work together.  I believe the jury is still out
as to what the real impact is from the cruise ships,” Mr. Lynch told some 700
delegates attending the discussion on “The Ins and Outs of Cruise Tourism.”

The minister noted that the cruise ships “are here to stay and we better find ways
to work with them.”  But he noted that there will continue to be conflict between
cruise and land-based tourism until there is a better understanding of each others
roles.

“There needs to be a lot more done to study the socio-economic impact on the people
of our islands.  I would like to urge that we have one study collectively
commissioned together to get rid of these myths,” he said.

The discussion was moderated by Charlie Funk, president of Just Cruisin’ Plus, a
full service travel agency focused on leisure travel and specializing in cruises. He
suggested the establishment of a regional convention and visitors’ bureau which will
involve Caribbean governments, the hotels, the cruise lines and other Caribbean
stakeholders to unify the region.

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Other influential experts on the panel were Brendan Corrigan, senior vice president
for cruise operations at Carnival Cruise Lines and Horace Hord, regional vice
president for government and community relations at Royal Caribbean International
and Celebrity Cruises.

Mr. Hord, whose relationship with CTO goes back several years, first as director of
Caribbean marketing with American Airlines, then as CEO of the Aruba Hotel & Tourism
Association, said he wanted to bring the various sectors together for the benefit of
the Caribbean’s tourism sector.

“My goal is to bring synergy between the hotels, cruise lines and governments of the
Caribbean,” he said, emphasizing the general view among the panelists that
cooperation was necessary for successful promotion of the region and that Caribbean
governments, hoteliers and the cruise sector were finally moving aggressively in
this direction. 
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