Despite cruise season setting in business remains slack

Published on : Saturday, November 30, 2013

Three cruiseCHARLESTOWN, NEVIS: Three cruise ships have visited Nevis since Saturday, Nov. 9, bringing a combined 882 passengers with them, but business remains slow for taxi drivers.

At the start of the cruise season, Minister of Tourism Hon. Mark Brantley told the drivers to expect increased business from visiting ships. Several taxi drivers told the Observer that business has been slow in recent weeks.

Stevenson Jones, who waits for fares at the Charlestown taxi stand, said he made $22 in four days. “How far do you think I can operate a taxi with $22?” he said. “Either me going dead hungry; the van going have to park up, or my dog dead hungry.”

He said that while cruise ships carry hundreds of passengers, not all of those people disembark. The ones who do come ashore don’t always get the best reception, he continued.

Other drivers were more optimistic than Jones. “Jobs aren’t flourishing just yet but will from mid-December to about April,” said one taxi operator, who wished to remain anonymous. “Personally, I’m happy and satisfied.”

Although the season is off to a slow start, the Nevis Tourism Authority is working to spread the word about Nevis in the global market. “Nevis is promoted through relations with international agencies like in the United States and good press over the past year,” said Greg Phillip, CEO. “The island is also promoted by media personalities, companies and writers to expose their readers and viewers. Members of staff have been traveling, more often in this year especially, to meet with the appropriate persons such as media [and] tour operators.”

He said he expects the cruise ships to boost the economy. “It should have a good effect if it’s tourism,” he said. “Any initiative for tourism should be good.”

He explained that tourism is rising slowly despite the world economic downturn a few years ago. “Over the past year it has gotten better,” he said. “This is due to a number of factors: The world economy has gotten better. Control and other initiatives have been amped up, and individuals who have been reached internationally have responded well. Hotels have reported that they are growing in numbers.”

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