Even though cruises are still months away from resuming, some ports are questioning if they even want them to return to the pre-pandemic normal.
As ships grow larger and cruising becomes more popular, cruise ports the world over have struggled to keep up with the ever changing demands of tourism. Prior to the pandemic, key ports such as Venice, Barcelona and Boracay moved to lower the number of passengers visiting their ports.
Recently, Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin noted that the nation is currently trying to move past the reliance on cruise-related tourism and change the industry.
“We’re trying to diversify the whole tourism industry. What I foresee, certainly if we [the People's Progressive Movement party] retain [control of] the government, is less focus on growing cruise tourism,” he said. “I think we have a very clear signal from just about every source that the great numbers that we’ve had since the cruise industry began in earnest and have always been the objective.”
Both McLaughlin and other government officials believe their nations can survive without the large number of cruise passengers that boost their economies.
Other ports are also looking at ways to ensure that overtourism doesn’t return.
Key West, FL recently voted on three measures to limit the number of cruise passengers to the Florida city. Similar measures have been considered in the region as well as in Bar Harbor, Maine.
The International Monetary Fund predicts a 6.2 percent drop in Caribbean GDP due to the pandemic, with visitor numbers being almost nonexistent.
Some hope that the trend of smaller ships continues, resulting in less passengers. Companies such as Virgin and Ritz-Carlton have already announced yacht-inspired vessels that may become the new normal.