Bahrain in bid to avert cruise crisis
Manama, June 23, 2012
Bahrain is pushing hard to ensure that massive insurance premiums do not put the forthcoming cruise tourism season in jeopardy, said official sources.
Sources told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, several companies had expressed an interest in visiting the country during the season, which begins in October, but were wary of the extra $15,000 (BD5,657) they are being asked to pay per call.
"This is a serious deterrent that could lead to each cruise operator paying as much as $300,000 (BD113,129) per season," they said.
"However, all is not lost since authorities are now trying very hard to talk to all those concerned to get the insurance premiums waived or completely scrapped."
The sources said Bahrain's tourism authorities were hoping to have a full cruise season given the last one was scrapped half way through because of last year's unrest.
"The last call then was in February last year when the emerging situation, coupled with the premiums made it unviable for cruise ships to dock in Bahrain," they said.
The sources said it would be a pity if the coming season would be scrapped as well due to the insurance, which was also blamed for the cancellation of the last cruise season.
"We are hoping for a positive outcome of all the efforts that are being made," they said.
Only 29 of the scheduled 50 port calls by various liners arrived in Bahrain after the season was abruptly suspended due to the unrest, a loss of nearly 50,000 tourists.-TradeArabia News Service