Cruise numbers have reached record highs in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) since the port carried out a US$35 million Cruise Pier Expansion Project and started work on the accompanying landside development Tortola Pier Park (TPP).
This October, the cruise port welcomed 32,133 passengers, a significant rise from the 4,098 and 5,465 guests it hosted in October 2013 and 2014 respectively.
As the momentum continues to build for what is shaping up to be ‘one of the best cruise tourism seasons the territory has ever seen’, BVI continues to welcome new ships with higher passenger capacity and larger gross tonnage (gt).
On 18 November, it hosted three cruise ships at its pier for the first time. They included Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest newbuild Norwegian Escape, which was the largest ship to call. Meanwhile, Cunard Line flagship Queen Mary 2 docked alongside the pier for the first time on 20 November.
“The vast increase in our October 2015 arrivals speak directly to the benefits derived from our enhanced cruise pier and upland development,” said Claude Skelton-Cline, managing director at the BVI Ports Authority. “The cruise tourism industry is growing rapidly and I am proud to say that our new cruise facilities are more than equipped to meet the growing demand of the industry. We look forward to a fantastic cruise season as we continue to welcome an increased number of ships to our shores and will continue to work closely with our partner cruise lines to ensure continued sustainable growth.”
TPP is expected to officially open on 22 December 2015. The facility will have retail stores, commercial and office space, conference facilities, indoor and outdoor event areas, dining venues and live entertainment. The park will also offer free wifi access throughout, and advertising spaces for local businesses.