Nathan Dundas, president of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association.
THE government of Antigua and Barbuda has sought to dispel “misleading and scare-mongering” reports that suggested a link between the cancellation of Carnival Cruise Lines’ service to its country, and its recent engagement of Global Port Holdings.
The Eastern Caribbean country last month entered into a multi–million-dollar agreement with the London-based GPH for the development of its capital’s cruise port in the capital.
GPH also recently beat out CCL’s bid for management of Nassau’s cruise port, and a report on comments by president of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association (ABCTA) Nathan Dundas sparked local concerns The Bahamas would also face similar cancellations. Yesterday, the country’s Ministry of Tourism released a statement which accused Mr Dundas of acting on special interest.
“The deceptive statement has been quoted by sections of the traditional and social media and distributed widely on WhatsApp,” Antigua’s Ministry of Tourism statement read.
“In his statement, Mr Dundas says that Carnival Cruise lines has cancelled its four upcoming calls for the winter 2019-20 season and that more cancellations are to follow. However, what he does not reveal is that normally Carnival Cruise Lines make only three or four calls to Antigua and Barbuda annually.
“The one exception to this pattern was the 2017-18 winter season when hurricanes decimated other destinations, causing Carnival to take advantage of Antigua’s fully functioning port.”
The statement added the total number of passengers that could be affected by the cancellations stood at approximately 12,200, and not 250,000 as previously reported.
“This is a relatively small number of the total cruise passengers that visit our country annually,” Antigua’s statement continued, adding Mr Dundas did not contact officials prior to his statement and caused unnecessary fear among cruise stakeholders and the general public.
“While we regret any loss of business, however, small in percentage terms, we do not anticipate any significant adverse impact on the stakeholders in our economy.”