In the next five years the government is hoping to triple the number of Cruise Ship passengers following the completion of its multimillion dollar cruise pier project which remains in controversy.
Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works on Monday while addressing taxi operators, said there is a lot of hope in the future for the taxi and hospitality business in the Territory.
"We are expecting our numbers to triple over the next five years in terms of cruise ship passenger arrivals, from the current 350,000, up to between 750 thousand to a million passengers annually," he said.
The minister further stated that government have offered to work with the cruise lines to facilitate or pay for tendering services so that the ships can still come even though construction on the pier is ongoing.
"As an incentive we have also offered to reduce the head tax to encourage cruise lines to continue to visit us while the dock is being completed and according to schedule by January of next year we should be welcoming the first of the mega ships to our shores."
He added, "so as we work together to secure the future of the cruise tourism industry, I once again solicit the patience of you [taxi drivers], the members of the public as we go through this very necessary phase of our development."
The extension of the dock is expected to be completed by year end and the landside development by December next year.
"Our Government therefore, continues to make every effort to ensure that the cruise ships keep coming and that the livelihood of our people is secure. With the completion of the cruise pier extension next year, we are expecting some great days ahead for the industry," Minister Vanterpool said.