The prospect of sharing our beaches without mingling with visitors may become another part of Grenada’s new normal in the coronavirus pandemic.
Acknowledging that Grenadians “are very, very protective of their beaches,” Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon Dr Clarice Modeste Curwen said discussions are underway with a cruise line for visitors to enjoy Grenada’s beaches without mingling with local residents. This could mean closing a particular beach to local residents for a few hours.
She said Seabourn, which is owned by Carnival Corporation, is developing a luxury cruise that will have “no contact with locals” in the CARICOM “advantageous” bubble countries of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Instead, the ship, which accommodates about 360 passengers, plans to anchor in the sea and use the company’s “fancy boats” to carry customers to a particular beach and engage in snorkeling, diving and “all the sea activities,” then return directly to the ship. The company has requested several beaches, but the Ministry has yet to confirm what beaches would be available.
Speaking to reporters at Tuesday’s post Cabinet press briefing, Minister Modeste Curwen said: “We know the beach belongs to all Grenadians, but we need to use it too, to generate a little revenue and create some jobs,” and she is “begging” her Grenadian brothers and sisters “to let (the Seabourn visitors) come and enjoy the beach for a few hours.”
“They are not taking our beach from us,” but will generate much needed revenue, as well as promote Grenada as a safe destination with beautiful beaches. The company intends to visit Grenada once a fortnight from November to April.
Although the ship will not dock at the port, the company proposes to pay all port charges and spend $4,000 (US) on crafts and other products from vendors, to be purchased via the ship’s local agent each time the cruise ship makes a call to our beaches.
The Minister also announced that SeaDream Yacht Club, which is based in Norway, will visit Grenada every Saturday from November 07 through to “sometime next year.” She revealed that the company is negotiating with the Grenada Ports Authority regarding port charges and head tax. The yacht will bring between 50 and 112 passengers and the company is hoping to offer tours.
“I think we could do Annandale (Falls), we could do Grand Etang and maybe one or two other sites, but, again, coordinated and with bookings,” Minister Modeste Curwen said, emphasising the importance of planning ahead with schedules. “They are coming once a week. Seabourn is coming once a fortnight. So, I’m just begging that if we can allow them to use some of our beaches just for that period …and let us get the industry back on foot,” she concluded.