Cruise tourism is returning to Grenada and the first two ships to begin calling at Port St George have requested exclusive use of Grand Anse Beach for their passengers.
Seaborne, a small luxury cruise ship and Sea Dream Yacht, will begin calls to Grenada next month, almost eight months after the novel coronavirus forced a shutdown of the cruise industry.
According to Tourism Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen in light of the request made, locals will be asked to stay away from beaches when they are in use by visitors.
The ships have confirmed weekly and fortnightly visits and have requested no contact with locals, remaining at anchor, not docking at the cruise port.
However locals will be asked to give up use of various beaches in order to accommodate cruise passengers who will be transported by tender to these beaches.
“They have asked for Grand Anse (Beach). It is still on the list but we believe it will be more difficult to separate that, so we’re looking for other beaches that are less populated,” the minister told reporters at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing..
“I believe that people will see the need for it, to give our working population in the industry that kind of opportunity. I think we as Grenadians could give up the beach for one day per week for some hours to observe safety,” she said.
Minister Modeste-Curwen was quick to add that she is well aware of how protective of their beaches Grenadians are.
Legally the government cannot force the public to stay away from the beaches for the sole purpose of accommodating visitors and there is expected to be consultation on how the system will be managed.
The tourism minister said potential beaches have been identified but she did not list them.
Grenada has been moving ahead with the reopening of travel into the country and officials are also giving consideration to how best to accommodate and entertain visitors.
Tours to heritage and natural sites are also being discussed and the plan is to close such facilities to locals for the duration of use by visitors.
“Because their numbers are small they are looking at tours that could be arranged for them long before and of course I think we could do Annandale (waterfall), we could do Grand Etang and maybe one or two other sites, but again coordinated,” the tourism minister said.
The senior government minister appealed for the cooperation of the public.
“So I am just begging, if we can allow them to use some of our beaches just for that period, once per week or once per fortnight and let us get the industry back on foot,” she said.
Seaborne, with a capacity to carry 360 passengers will be calling every two weeks from November to April 21.
Sea Dream Yacht Club, carrying between 50 and 112 passengers will visit every Saturday from November 7.
Minister Modeste-Curwen explained – “They will transport their guests to a beach. They have requested some beaches and we are looking at it and I wanted to take a minute to explain that and to beg cooperation from Grenadians.
“We know the beaches belong to all of us but we need … to generate a little revenue and create some jobs.”
The cruise ships have agreed to pay all the port charges associated with docking and have also agreed to purchase craft and local products through their local agents on each visit with a minimum purchase will of $4,000.00.
The tourism minister also said additionally the cruise line will make “a small donation” for use in the industry.
A cruise ship task force made up of operators, agents, port and tourism officials, is dealing with the resumption of cruise tourism.
The ships will also visit other islands in the Caribbean chain that are being called a “safe travel bubble” such as St Lucia, St Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent.