Increasing opportunities for women in cruise tourism 

The Antigua Cruise Port (ACP) is at the forefront of finding ways to increase the role of women in the vital cruise tourism industry in Antigua and Barbuda and throughout the Caribbean.

With this in mind, ACP in collaboration with Nassau Cruise Port and the Ministry of tourism, convened a webinar on Tuesday on topic – Choose to Challenge: Increasing Opportunities for Women in Cruise Tourism.

“As we mark International Women’s Day – the celebration of the achievements of women “throughout history and across nations” that is observed each year on March 8- my special thoughts go to all women, everywhere.

“At Antigua Cruise Port, we firmly believe in gender equality and we are proud to say that we have a 50/50 split between men and women on our hard-working team. I would like to extend a special thank you to all our brilliant staff, men included, who are helping to create a more gender-inclusive world,” ACP General Manager, Donna Regis stated in her invitation letter to participants.

She said the event was held in support of female colleagues and in the spirit of building inclusive work environments where women thrive. The event focused on ways to amplify the achievements of women in the cruise tourism sector.

Regis noted that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic was especially hard on women who ply their trade in the cruise sector with many of them losing their jobs. “We believe that the cruise industry will come back, and come back strong therefore we want to ensure that the role of women is not diminished but rather enhanced when that happens,” she remarked.

Regis stated that some one hundred and twenty-two people participated in the webinar which brought together travel and tourism industry experts. The event also examined the future of the cruise industry from various perspectives and discussed how the advancements of women in this field will support the growth of the industry.

Presenters included Senior VP of Revenue, Sales, and Itinerary at Virgin Voyages, Diana Block-Garcia, who shared a special presentation about what her company is doing to drive the industry forward and to empower women. Following her presentation, there was a panel discussion that was moderated by Communications Officer at the Ministry of Tourism, Samoya Kirby. Other panelists included Executive Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association, Patrice Simon, Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, Joy Jibrilu, Director of Operations, Nassau Cruise Port, Marques Williams and Regis representing ACP.

Looking towards the future, Regis said her company is forecasting that the cruise industry will not return to full strength until the fourth quarter of the year but plans are being made to be ready by this summer. “Our projections are that it will be around November when the cruise industry returns to the numbers that we have been accustomed to. However, we are working with the ministry of health, the port authority and the ministry of tourism to be ready to accept cruises as early as the summer months,” she explained.

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