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Grand Turk may go another year without Cruises; Vaccine is the way out

#TurksandCaicos, February 5, 2021 – Comments made to the Senate Committee on Transportation in the United States on Thursday point to a cruise industry which is sinking deeper and deeper as the rules for running cruises amidst the coronavirus pandemic continue to anchor the industry.

“I’m not sure we’ll have significant cruise operations until perhaps next year and even beyond that,” said Michael Rubin, Vice President of Florida Ports Council.

It has cost ports in Florida $22 billion dollars and the cruise lines themselves have seen economic activity dip by $32 billion.

After recording a successful year in 2019 with 1,064,408 passengers arriving at the Grand Turk Cruise Center, there appears to be no end in sight to postponements and cancellations without thorough global administration of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In his report to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, where the Grand Turk Cruise Center is listed as a trading company, Herrick Dear, Chairman at Margaretville Caribbean said:  “Margaritaville (Turks) Ltd. looks forward to an even better Fiscal 2019/20. The Board and Management team seek the continued support of our Shareholders and we pledge to continue to work for the mutual benefits of all concerned. Thank you for your continuous support.”

The statement was made in a 2019 Annual Report for the company.

During this most successful year of operation in Grand Turk, it was reported that earnings topped $7 million.

“The company also achieved revenues of US$7.59 million during the year, a direct result of the increased passenger counts.”

Turks and Caicos Islands Government earns $2 US for every passenger; it is an automatic loss of over $2 million dollars to TCIG.

Michael Rubin told the Transportation Committee: We are concerned. We’re hopeful that they’ll allow them to operate at least half capacity here maybe in April, maybe in June. Hopefully, before that timeframe, because this is really, really troubling.”

He also said the high profile disasters at sea regarding the virus continue to linger in the minds of regulators and navigating what different ports will require and desire when it comes time for disembarkation is challenging.

“Some of the smaller luxury liners … may not be operating till further than that, until there’s actual vaccines available around the world. We are concerned. We’re hopeful that they’ll allow them to operate at least half capacity here maybe in April, maybe in June. Hopefully, before that timeframe, because this is really, really troubling.”

In the report on Margaritaville, it was said there were 329 cruise ships to the Grand Turk Cruise Center in 2018/19.  Carnival Cruise Line brought the lion’s share of the cruises, 84.2 percent. The economic activity captured in the report also showed a performance increase by $1.5million.

The prognosis was good, now the industry is faced with what it calls the onerous requirements of the American Centers for Disease Control.

So far, no one seems enthusiastic. 

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