British Virgin islands Minister for Communications and Works Kye Rymer has said that the remarkable surge in cruise passenger arrivals since the summer of 2021 signals a robust recovery in the cruise tourism industry following the loss of business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that in fact numbers are back to where they were in 2019, or even better.
In his statement at the third sitting of the first session of the fifth house of assembly, Rymer said that the British Virgin Islands Port Authority’s (BVIPA) and the Ministry’s commitment to providing a secure and inviting atmosphere has played a pivotal role in the upswing of cruise tourism, with exceptional passenger numbers underscoring a upward trend that is expected to continue into the upcoming 2023-2024 season.
He said, “We have demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability, and we are thrilled to witness this exponential growth in cruise tourism. The dedication of our community, combined with strategic planning, has made this achievement possible.
The BVI Ports Authority is anticipating an exceptional cruise tourism season in 2023-2024. Based on ongoing trends and projected estimates, the forecast indicates that passenger numbers are likely to reach well over 3/4 million during the upcoming tourism season.”
Rymer also shared statistics on cruise passenger arrivals and how likely cruise passengers are to return to a destination that they’ve previously visited on a cruise ship.
Rymer said, “These statistics highlight the cruise industry’s significance and robustness, not only for the Virgin Islands but also for our entire region, offering promising economic opportunities for job creation and the growth of local businesses.”
The minster also produced a list of the following claims made by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA):
– Every 24 cruisers worldwide support one full-time job.
– Cruisers typically spend an average of US $750 per passenger in port cities during a standard 7-day trip.
– A significant majority, 6 in 10 people who have taken a cruise, return to a destination they initially visited via a cruise ship.
– 2022 marks a pivotal transition year for the cruise industry, with a full recovery (after Covid-19) projected for 2023.
– Passenger volume exceeded 101% of 2019 levels by the end of 2022.
– The Caribbean region continues to be the top global cruise market, accounting for 44% of all cruise travel.
– The industry is actively pursuing the goal of achieving net carbon-neutral cruising by 2050.
– By 2027, there will be 26 cruise ships powered by Liquified Natural Gas, constituting 16% of global capacity.
– Additionally, by 2027, 174 ships will have shore-side connectivity, which represents 66% of global capacity.
The Minister’s full statement can be viewed on the Government of the Virgin Islands website at www.bvi.gov.vg.