Saint Lucia Prime Minister Stephenson King receives bottled water from Captain John Scott of Holland America’s Noordam. At left is the Prime Minister’s wife Rosalia King.
CASTRIES, St Lucia — Cruise liners which sailed in support of Saint Lucia’s communities affected by Hurricane Tomas were thanked by the island’s Prime Minister, Stephenson King, on Sunday.
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and its member lines quickly restored cruise business in the wake of the October 30 hurricane and also shipped in humanitarian assistance for affected Saint Lucians.
Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister, in thanking the Florida-based trade organization for its support of Saint Lucia’s cruise visitor industry, pointed out, "the quick action by the cruise lines was of enormous help for us and underscored the huge value of tourism to our recovery efforts."
About two-thirds of Saint Lucia’s attractions have re-opened, and this past Sunday, November 7, both Holland America’s Noordam and P & O Oceana brought thousands of passengers who were able to experience some of them, including Lucian Life, Zip Lining in the Saint Lucian Rainforest; and sail catamarans to the popular Marigot Bay as well as visit some of the island’s famous beaches. Saint Lucia’s taxi drivers and vendors were also elated with the return of visitors to the island.
The passengers were cheered by the knowledge the vessels they sailed to Saint Lucia also brought 200 tonnes of water along with clothing, food, furniture, mattresses, sheets and blankets which were distributed to needy communities by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Saint Lucia Red Cross.
"We are grateful to our cruise partners for their kindness, and thanks to the disaster preparedness of some of Saint Lucia’s larger hotels, not only were they able to supply their own guests with safe water, but they were also able to share their stored, purified and desalinated water with surrounding communities," reported Guy Joseph, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Communications and Works.
More cruise ships would continue to bring helpful passengers as well as assistance to Saint Lucia in the weeks ahead.
And in the air, tourism got a kick-start over the weekend with the arrival of JetBlue Airways, American Airlines/American Eagle, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, among other carriers.
The international and regional carriers landed easily at both Hewanorra International Airport and George F.L. Charles Airport.
"Tourism is our lifeblood, and we are grateful to our regional and international partners for the confidence they have placed in Saint Lucia. By returning so quickly, they are assisting the nation recover in the aftermath of the storm," asserted Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, Senator Allen Chastanet.