The Sun “Grossly Understated” Cruise Ship Arrivals

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 16TH 2007 (CUOPM)

Minister of State for Tourism, Sports and Culture, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt is taking issue with Monday’s front page story of Sun St. Kitts / Nevis.

He has brought to the attention of the Sun St. Kitts / Nevis reporter, Ms. Corliss Smithen, the fact that the “front page report on the October 2005 to September 2006 cruise season, grossly understated the St. Kitts cruise arrivals.”

“It seems that you may have reported directly from the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) report, “˜Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism on the Caribbean Economy,’ published in October, 2006, in which only some ships from member lines of the FCCA were surveyed. Total cruise passenger berths to St. Kitts that season were recorded as 222,261 which were over 100,000 more than the number reported in your article,” Minister Skerritt said in a statement.Mr. Skerritt noted that it is “easy to misinterpret the FCCA report simply because its membership does not include several of the Cruise Lines which call at our Port.”

“For example, European based ship arrivals, such as P&O, were not reported. This list of omissions includes the Ocean Village, capacity of 1650 having made 13 calls; Arcadia, capacity of 2534 with 3 calls; and Oceana, capacity 1950 with 5 calls.  The Fred Olsen ships were also not accounted for in the FCCA survey, including the Braemer and the Broudicca.  Smaller North American Lines such as the Windjammer Cruises, Sea Cloud and the Star Clippers are not members of the FCCA and were not included in their survey.

While the passenger capacity of these smaller ships is relatively low, their high frequency of calls contribute significantly to cruise arrival numbers.  For example, in that same season the Polynesia, capacity 168, made 15 calls, while the Royal Clipper, capacity 200, made 14 calls.  We were also visited in 2005-2006 season by European charters on the Van Gogh, Lili Marleen and the Maxi Gorky with a total of 6 calls,” said Minister Skerritt.

For verification, Mr. Skerritt also sent to Ms. Corliss Smithen on Tuesday, a copy of the 2003-2008 monthly cruise berth spread sheet which includes a projected arrivals picture for the 2007 to 2008 season.

Minister Skerritt also sent to Ms. Smith of Sun St. Kitts/Nevis, a list of the names and capacities of actual ships which called during the 2005 to 2006 season.

In commending her for her ongoing journalistic efforts, Minister Skerritt asked her to “ensure that Monday’s misleading article is clarified in a follow-up report in the near future,” invited her to “please feel free to seek feedback from our Ministry as part of your future research” and expressed his willingness “to meet with you personally if you so desire.”

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