Amid continuing COVID-19 and Delta cases Carvalho’s Agencies is appealing to Government for reopening of cruise ship season this month since over 100 cruise ship visits hang in the balance.

The company’s general manager Charles Carvalho, who wrote the Tourism Ministry on the issue on Monday, suggested allowing only fully vaccinated passengers on shore and pointed to COVID protocols ships all have.

T&T been closed to cruise ships since March 2020 when the pandemic hit. The season is over November 20 to April 2022.

COVID cases up to Tuesday were 294 with about 156 Delta cases.

Carvalho noted that at yesterday’s briefing by the Ministry of Health when asked about reopening, Principal Medical Officer (Institutions) Dr Maryam Abdool Richards indicated it involved policy decision by the Prime Minister.

But his letter to Tourism is the second to Government. He added he wrote Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in April seeking to have Crystal Lines visit Tobago. The letter was forwarded to Trade and later Tourism. At that time T&T headed into a surge of case and lockdown.

In Monday’s letter to Tourism, Carvalho said, “The direct and indirect foreign exchange influx alone should warrant the prioritization of restarting this sector.”

Citing cruise lines’ need to plan itineraries, he added: “As a result, we have been inundated with daily calls and emails from every line that visits T&T, and many that have made commitments to call here for the first time. We’re being asked when cruise ships will be allowed to return, testing and vaccination requirements, shore excursion restrictions.”

“We’re currently unable to provide clear guidance as it seems discussions are still ongoing among the various ministries and public health experts. The eventuality is, due to lack of updates, cruise lines will cancel all their calls to T&T for the 2021-2022 season (November to April). This would be an outright shame as so many cruise lines committed to visiting our country this season. It would be the most visits our ports have seen in many years.”

He told Guardian media later that 100 ship visits might hang in the balance.

Carvalho’s letter added the airline industry has been steadily and safely resuming operations in T&T and provisions were made for vaccinated non-nationals to visit via air– but not cruise ships.

Carvalho suggested allowing ships return from November 19, 2021 under conditions including allowing only fully vaccinated passengers to disembark vessels for sight seeing and to have only fully vaccinated tour guides operating tours and other services.