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Montserrat encouraged to use its assets and prepare for cruise tourism

GIU (adapted) – Montserrat is a diamond in the rough with a lot to offer says cruise tourism expert Matthew Beaubrun, Chief Executive Officer of Cox & Co. Ltd of St. Lucia.

Matthew Beaubrun

Matthew Beaubrun, CEO of Cox & Co. Ltd of St. Lucia

Beaubrun was on island in response to an invitation from the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) to meet with small business owners, doing so on Friday, July 5, 2013 on how they can prepare the island to attract and build cruise tourism. John Cox explained that Matthew came from St. Lucia and is the the chairman of the St. Lucia Tourism authority. “His experience is broader than just dealing with the cruise ship industry,” he introduced.

“He’s actually involved in a very wide range of tourism,” Cox said, adding, “he was invited to visit MDC…over the weekend to review our master plan our development ideas for within the Little Bay, Carrs Bay area as well as the process for cruise ship industry, cruise ship tourism over the coming years.”

Although the port is yet to be built, “this is the time when cruise operators are planning the itineraries for the coming years. You cannot wait until 2015 to decide what you will offer to the industry, that work and investment needs to start now,” Beaubrun advised.

He said the plans for the new town and port were “really first class and can do a lot for the economic development of the island. The strategy is well thought out.”

MDC's John Cox

MDC’s John Cox

The expert, who leads several shipping and travel ventures under the Cox & Co brand, told the gathering that Montserratians needed to answer the question of how do you manage to be exclusive while being small. He said “safety and security” are assets that can be leveraged and encouraged them to do whatever was necessary to keep it so. “If you keep it, you all will be ahead of the game. You can show the rest of the Caribbean how to develop tourism and keep it safe for your guests.”

Customer service is critical, the CEO said. “Start teaching your children from school about tourism. It is not about servitude but giving service. Cruise tourism can create a lot of employment for your destination.”

He commented that the mixed planned concept for the town and port, which also includes a marina, was a great idea. “The yachting sector in St. Lucia generates the same amount in revenue as the cruise tourism.” He added that Montserrat did not need to become a main yacht haven but rather take advantage of the islands position on the yachting highway.

Consultant Vincent Hippolyte, a former Access Coordinator for Montserrat, participating in the presentation, said the island had the chance to get it right from “…day one. There needs to be a public policy to establish minimum standards which must be adhered to and sanctions in place for those who don’t.”

Hippolyte suggested a certification programme for taxi drivers with a process to recertify ahead of each new cruise season. “The way your taxi drivers represent Montserrat is very important. Your tour menu is also very important. It must be diversified and you have to keep it appealing.”

Both men emphasised that the cruise lines must benefit from the tours and so work needs to be done to ensure that the packages were creative and attractive.

“Be innovative, price competitively, give good service, have packages different than were offered before,” Beaubrun advised. “You have a competitive advantage of unspoilt beauty, safety, your water is good. Offer them your water. Take advantage of the volcano as an opportunity as it will be a big pull for the cruise lines.”

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

GIU (adapted) – Montserrat is a diamond in the rough with a lot to offer says cruise tourism expert Matthew Beaubrun, Chief Executive Officer of Cox & Co. Ltd of St. Lucia.

Matthew Beaubrun

Matthew Beaubrun, CEO of Cox & Co. Ltd of St. Lucia

Beaubrun was on island in response to an invitation from the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) to meet with small business owners, doing so on Friday, July 5, 2013 on how they can prepare the island to attract and build cruise tourism. John Cox explained that Matthew came from St. Lucia and is the the chairman of the St. Lucia Tourism authority. “His experience is broader than just dealing with the cruise ship industry,” he introduced.

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“He’s actually involved in a very wide range of tourism,” Cox said, adding, “he was invited to visit MDC…over the weekend to review our master plan our development ideas for within the Little Bay, Carrs Bay area as well as the process for cruise ship industry, cruise ship tourism over the coming years.”

Although the port is yet to be built, “this is the time when cruise operators are planning the itineraries for the coming years. You cannot wait until 2015 to decide what you will offer to the industry, that work and investment needs to start now,” Beaubrun advised.

He said the plans for the new town and port were “really first class and can do a lot for the economic development of the island. The strategy is well thought out.”

MDC's John Cox

MDC’s John Cox

The expert, who leads several shipping and travel ventures under the Cox & Co brand, told the gathering that Montserratians needed to answer the question of how do you manage to be exclusive while being small. He said “safety and security” are assets that can be leveraged and encouraged them to do whatever was necessary to keep it so. “If you keep it, you all will be ahead of the game. You can show the rest of the Caribbean how to develop tourism and keep it safe for your guests.”

Customer service is critical, the CEO said. “Start teaching your children from school about tourism. It is not about servitude but giving service. Cruise tourism can create a lot of employment for your destination.”

He commented that the mixed planned concept for the town and port, which also includes a marina, was a great idea. “The yachting sector in St. Lucia generates the same amount in revenue as the cruise tourism.” He added that Montserrat did not need to become a main yacht haven but rather take advantage of the islands position on the yachting highway.

Consultant Vincent Hippolyte, a former Access Coordinator for Montserrat, participating in the presentation, said the island had the chance to get it right from “…day one. There needs to be a public policy to establish minimum standards which must be adhered to and sanctions in place for those who don’t.”

Hippolyte suggested a certification programme for taxi drivers with a process to recertify ahead of each new cruise season. “The way your taxi drivers represent Montserrat is very important. Your tour menu is also very important. It must be diversified and you have to keep it appealing.”

Both men emphasised that the cruise lines must benefit from the tours and so work needs to be done to ensure that the packages were creative and attractive.

“Be innovative, price competitively, give good service, have packages different than were offered before,” Beaubrun advised. “You have a competitive advantage of unspoilt beauty, safety, your water is good. Offer them your water. Take advantage of the volcano as an opportunity as it will be a big pull for the cruise lines.”