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PHOTO: Work is nearing completion on improved cruise facilities on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. (Courtesy of British Virgin Islands Port Authority)
Tortola plans to complete a $52 million project to improve its cruise facilities in April in hopes of attracting more ships to the British Virgin Islands.
The project is lengthening the pier so it can accommodate two 180,000-ton cruise ships at once. The redevelopment includes a five-acre landside development that will have commercial, retail, entertainment and green spaces, as well as a boardwalk and new staging area for taxis.
"The cruise pier project means economic development through the influx of cruise passengers, which means increased revenues through passenger spend and increased business opportunities for residents," said April Glasgow, public relations officer for the BVI Ports Authority. "We also envisage opportunities for our resident artists and entertainers who wish to market their work on a global scale through cruise passengers who purchase goods and help move them throughout the world."
Construction began in October in Road Harbour in Tortola's capital. After completion, Tortola port officials expect to welcome 650,000 cruise passengers in the 2015-16 season. That's up from the 340,000 cruise ship passengers in 2013.
Much of that growth will come from preferential berthing agreements with Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line, which will bring 350,000 and 75,000 passengers, respectively, on an annual basis for 15 years, Glasgow said.
Theresa Norton, editor in chief of AGENTatHOME Magazine, covers the cruise industry for TravelPulse.com.
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