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Bequia prepares for busy tourist season

Bequia prepares for  busy tourist season

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With no less than 56 cruise ship visits to Bequia scheduled for the next six months (a 23 per cent increase on last year) and cautious optimism being expressed by a number of stakeholders, Bequia is making sure that visitors to that beautiful Grenadine island are not disappointed.{{more}}

The Bequia Tourism Association (BTA), the Port Authority, represented by Harbour Master Johnny Ollivierre, the Bequia District Council and the CWSA are all working together to ensure that the waterfront at Port Elizabeth and the town in general are pristine and welcoming. Special attention is being given to the waterfront gardens and green areas to ensure they are tidy, well maintained and garbage free.

Under Harbour Master Ollivierre’s direction, the cruise ship tender dock in the centre of town has been extended to provide a shaded area and more space for docking tenders, and the area under the Almond Tree has been cleared of major potholes, with more filling planned. There are also plans for additional lighting in key areas such as the Belmont Walkway.

Friday, October 14 saw the first cruise ship visit of the season, with the inaugural visit SVG of the Prince Albert II. With a reception jointly sponsored by the Bequia Tourism Association and the Port Authority, passengers came ashore to the sounds of steel pan music and were greeted by SVG Tourism Authority Chairperson Lucille Cozier and representatives from the Bequia Tourism Association.

On Sunday, November 6, the 540-passenger Silver Spirit, part of the SilverSea Cruises line was joined in Admiralty Bay by the German M/V Albatros with over 300 passenger on board. Those who came ashore all seemed enchanted by their first impression of the island, and taxis and waterfront bars were bustling with business on a sparkling Sunday morning. On the dinghy dock police officers were practising their German with a friendly “Guten Tag! and “Auf Wiedersehn”, much to the delight of the German visitors. The Bequia Tourism Association also welcomed a German TV travel documentary film crew ashore travelling on the Albatros and helped coordinate their filming for a series which will be aired next year.

Two more TV film crews – from Britain’s “A Place in the Sun” and “Heaven on Earth” property investment shows – have also recently been filming on Bequia, assisted by the BTA and the SVGTA.

On Monday, November 21, the Silver Spirit returned to Bequia for an all-day visit. To mark the start of Tourism Week, the BTA sponsored a special cultural welcome for .guests as they came ashore, with complimentary local fruit drinks, rum punch, locally grown bananas and traditional Bequia music performed by “Farine”.

A “Community Clean-up Day” in Port Elizabeth, organized by the BTA in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, will take place on Saturday, December 10, in preparation for the first peak of visitor arrivals at Christmas.

“Tourism is our life-blood,” said Antoinette Cozier Simmons, Chairperson of the Bequia Tourism Association. “Everyone has a role to play in supporting our tourism industry. We are very encouraged by the commitment and cooperation that is being shown by stakeholders in supporting the work of the BTA to ensure the visitor experience is a wholly positive one, and by the Ministry of Tourism in their swift and constructive response to the recent spate of yacht crimes on the island, in anticipation of what we hope will be a strong season for the island.”

“Bequia’s Easter Regatta used to be the main peak in the season, after Nine Mornings and Christmas”, she continued. “It’s still the highlight of the year for Bequia, but now Bequia’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display – entirely funded by local businesses and private individuals – and our Bequia Music Fest in late January have added extra reasons to make Bequia a favoured destination throughout the winter months”.

The annual BTA Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest (January 26 to 29 2012)

in particular is proving a significant boost to visitor numbers with many in the accommodation sector declaring themselves “fully booked” for the end of January right through till March of next year.

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