Tourism Trinidad to provide cruise visitors with an authentic experience
Tourism Trinidad Limited (TTL) held an official welcome ceremony in November 2019 to launch the 2019/2020 cruise season as the Caribbean Princess cruise liner docked at the Port of Spain with some 3,600 passengers.
For the November 2019 to April 2020 cruise season, Destination Trinidad will be receiving 70,000 passengers from 27 vessel calls. Two new cruise lines and three new cruise vessels will also be calling at the Port of Spain. In 2018, Destination Trinidad received 59,000 passengers.
Internationally, the cruise season has been on an upward trend; declaring a record high of 28.5 million passengers in 2018; with a significant number of those passengers coming from North America – 14.2 million passengers to be exact. In fact, North American travellers dominated the Caribbean, for cruise travel – recording a 7% increase, up to 9.8 million passengers in 2018.
At the official cruise reception, the Chairman of Tourism Trinidad, Howard Chin Lee, pointed out that “today’s travellers are looking for new experiences; especially millennials who are actively seeking out authentic experiences in exotic, far-flung destinations and want something cool to share with their friends on social media.”
Cruise ships are responding to this competitive environment, offering lavish features such as underwater lounges with submarine type experiences to entice the new age traveller. Recently Virgin – one of the most prominent players in the airline industry has taken a bold step to ‘reinvent the cruise experience.’ As explained by Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Cruise, “We have taken the time to think about every detail and craft an experience that brings the Virgin brand to life and disrupts the travel industry.”
It is against this background that Tourism Trinidad welcomed the Caribbean Princess guests with an immersive and authentic experience that celebrated the vibrant and diverse spirit of Trinidad through enticing cuisine, exhilarating entertainment and authentic regional experiences, bringing the destination to life and disrupting traditional welcomes.
Chairman Howard Chin Lee emphasised the need for Trinidad to find innovative ways to further enhance and use its tourism assets to disrupt Caribbean Cruising and capture significant market share beyond the 4% increase of 2018. “Our Port is one of the few to offer Cruise ship docking in the capital city, with immediate access to duty-free shopping, gift shops and boutiques and easy access to our financial district. This undoubtedly presents a competitive advantage for Trinidad. Now, add to this our leisure, eco and year-round festivals and you have a one-of-a-kind tourism experience like no other Caribbean island.”
In the coming months, Tourism Trinidad will be working hand-in-hand with regional corporations, tourism action groups and industry partners to address major issues impacting upon the visitor experience such as destination improvement and skills development. The company will be undertaking hospitality and service quality training across communities, agencies and service departments, sharing best management practices; and focusing on all the individuals who come into direct contact with international visitors (immigration, customs, transport, shops, restaurants and hotels and even within the communities). These are the people who will feel the direct benefits of increased business opportunities and greater demand for their products and services.