Montserrat was represented at the twenty-fifth annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference & Tradeshow held in Puerto Rico from October 21 to 25. Director of Tourism, Mr. Warren Solomon was accompanied by Managing Director of Lena’s Enterprises Ltd., Mrs. Adelina Tuitt at the event.
The FCCA Conference is a four-day event designed to foster a better understanding of the inner workings of the cruise industry, and help attendees improve their cruise tourism business. Esteemed cruise line executives who decide where ships call, what is sold and used onboard, and how to invest in destinations and infrastructure were on-hand to meet with tourism representatives, port officials, tour operators and shipping agents.
Mr. Solomon and Mrs. Tuitt joined the delegation from Antigua & Barbuda, which was led by Minister of Tourism & Investment, the Hon. Charles Fernandez. As part of the ongoing marketing cooperation between Montserrat and Antigua & Barbuda, they were able to operate from their pavilion, where they conducted meetings and distributed promotional material.
“The FCCA has 18 cruise line members, and although Montserrat is not going after the large vessels that accommodate thousands of passengers, we took the opportunity to have discussions with some of the executives about Montserrat excursions for their guests when they dock in Antigua,” commented Mr. Solomon.
The Director of Tourism also indicated that one of the cruise lines will come to Montserrat in 2020. “We had a fruitful meeting with Silversea Cruises, who will be calling on Montserrat in March of next year, and we’re working on getting someone from their shore experience department to visit the island to meet with local stakeholders,” stated Mr. Solomon.
Workshops were also conducted and covered the themes of insurance, incident response and Luxury Cruises; all focusing on placing the customer at the centre of all activities.
“One thing that stood out in the workshop featuring Luxury Cruises, was that all of the presenters stressed the need for telling the right stories on tours, conveying excitement for the guests and making them feel special, ensuring that all equipment is in top shape and for local tour operators not to be comfortable in the mindset of ‘this is what we’ve always done, so why change?” noted Mr. Solomon.
Mrs. Tuitt, whose company is the agent for one of the luxury lines said the experience was an eye-opener. She added, “I will certainly be taking on board a lot of what I learned in the workshops, as far as tailoring my future tours to ensure that the guests get an authentic snapshot of Montserrat in the few hours that they have with us.”
The Tourism Division, Office of the Premier will continue to work with its partners in the Montserrat Tour & Taxi Association, particularly in the area of training, with a series of programmes due to commence in November. Plans are also being put in place to attend the Seatrade Conference next April.
The 2019/2020 cruise season began on November 4, with the arrival of the Sea Dream.