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Disney Magic Marks the Return of Cruise Tourism

Front Pages 22 Mar, 2022 Follow News

Disney Magic Marks the Return of Cruise Tourism

By Alex Slocock

The sun rose on Monday morning the 21st of March to reveal the Disney Magic approaching over the horizon, heralding the return of cruise tourism to the Cayman Islands following the closure of the port in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Royal Watler Cruise Terminal was buzzing with activity for the first time in two years as vendors prepared to welcome cruise tourists back to Caymanian shores. The 1,493 passengers stepped off the tenders to receive a Cayman Kind welcome, including music and dancing from local artists, as well as appearances from Sir Turtle and a few of our own swashbuckling buccaneers.

Minister of Tourism Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Dwayne ‘John John’ Seymour, as well as Director of Tourism Rosa Harris and Chief Officer of the Ministry of Tourism and Transport Stran Bodden were the first to greet visitors as they stepped onto the pier.

A visibly emotional Bryan was elated to see cruise passengers back on Caymanian shores. “It’s a mix of emotions. I must say that seeing the kids in particular was a bit emotional for me. Not only to see the guest’s experiences – so much happiness and so many smiles – but the smiles on my people’s faces were even more pleasing to me, because you can see that Caymanians are so happy to pass on these experiences to the guests.”

The arrival of the Disney Magic, which usually carries 2,700 passengers, marks the beginning of Phase One of plans to restore cruise tourism to pre-pandemic levels, something that ministers feel is essential for the prosperity of the local economy. “The fact that I can see people in the industry getting back to work, being excited, and being able to provide for themselves again is really, really, thrilling” stated Minister Bryan.

Despite the festivities, Ministers were quick to acknowledge the concerns of those who have reservations about the return of cruise ships. “We need to take our time”, admitted Parliamentary Secretary Dwayne Seymour. “We really need to work with the stakeholders to ensure that they’re ready before we make commitments and overburden them.”

Ministers also recognised environmental concerns. “Whenever [the impact] becomes negative, we actually question why we are doing it,” said Minister Bryan. “What we have to do is find that balance where everybody benefits.”

All told, there was optimism in the air as vendors anticipate the arrival of another 20 cruise ships in the next 4 weeks, signalling the tourism industry’s continuing recovery in the wake of COVID-19.

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