The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board has announced that cruise ship calls to the Grand Turk Cruise Centre will recommence on April 8, 2013.

Some three weeks have elapsed since cruise ships discontinued berthing at the facility, which is owned by the Carnival Corporation, for fear of passengers disembarking on the island contracting the gastroenteritis virus that has broken out in Grand Turk.

The Turks and Caicos Islands economy has lost millions of dollars in economic activity as a result of the recent outbreak.

The Tourist Board, which has been working in close collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders as well as the local public health department, said it is confident that all measures have been taken to ensure the health and safety of visitors.

The cruise sector, which accounts for a majority of visitors to the Turks and Caicos Islands, is a vital cog in the tourism industry of Grand Turk and the Board said it is cognizant of the impact that the cancellation of cruise ship visits may have exerted on the businesses and residents of the Island.

Commenting, Ralph Higgs, director of the Tourist Board, said, “Throughout this situation, we continued an open dialogue with the most senior executives involved in the port’s operation. We understand the severity of the impact of the cancellation of cruise ship visits not only to the local business community of Grand Turk but to those guests who have selected to visit our shores via cruise line. Moving forward, the government feels confident that all the appropriate measures are in place and that Grand Turk will continue to provide the vacation opportunity of a lifetime to our visiting guests.”

(c)2013 the Caribbean News Now (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands). Distributed by MCT Information Services.