By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The taxi union's president yesterday lamented an 80 percent decline in Christmas business for his members compared to prior years with the festive season a "far cry" from pre-COVID earnings.
Wesley Ferguson told Tribune Business: “During the Christmas holidays the visitor arrivals slowly climbed to about 1,500 a day during 23-24 December, where we had more than 1,000 people a day.
“That was a far cry from what we would normally get. We normally would handle up to 7,000 people a day in those peak days, and the departures are just a rigorous. Taxi drivers were busy going to and fro all day in previous seasons.”
The first week in January has traditionally been busy, but Mr Ferguson said fare-paying passengers have slowed to a trickle and are "a far cry from what it used to be".
“Despite what the politicians say, it’s just hype," he added. "They want to appear as if they are doing something with regard to the revamp of the tourism industry, but they are only focused on votes and hyping up everything like it is getting back to normal.”
Mr Ferguson said the continued absence of cruise ships also put a damper on the Christmas season. "It was a big loss of finance, because the cruise shops are super busy from right before Christmas Day straight through to December 31," he added.
"Even on January 1 there is a big influx of tourists that pour out during the Junkanoo hours just to watch the show. But this year we had zero tourists at the port.”
Mr Ferguson voiced fears that the cruise ships will be absent from Prince George Wharf for at least another three months as the industry continues to work through the necessary health protocols with the US authorities so that it can resume sailing.