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St George’s merchants critical of Veendam diversions

Frequent diversions to Hamilton by the

Veendam have disappointed east end businesses, who are still looking for more customers.

The Holland America

Veendam was scheduled to make a total of 24 visits to St George’s, but so far this year the ship has been diverted away from the town six times, due largely to weather concerns.

Corporation of St George’s Alderman and owner of Robertson’s Drugstore Garth Rothwell said: “It’s disappointing that it cannot come into St George’s because it does make a difference when it is in. “When it’s here, we do a little bit better than we do when it’s across the Island.”

Another businessman, who asked not to be named, said this years problems echoed those that took place last year. “I think we were disappointed last year,” he said. “This year it was sort of expected. When it skips town, it hurts. Every visit helps, every visitor helps.

“If we don’t have people coming to the town, we’re put in a position where it’s hard to stay open, and if businesses aren’t open, it’s harder to get people to the town.”

While he said that a stronger emphasis on public transportation to and from the town could help, another business owner said the only solution is to keep people in the town longer by having a ship in port longer or opening one of the promised east end hotels.

“People seem to get off the ferry or the bus, walk up to Tobacco Bay, and then march right back to the bus,” he said. “If we are going to make ends meet, we need people to stay in the town. It can be on a cruise ship or a hotel. We don’t mind which.”

He also expressed concern that while the number of visitors to the Island may be on the rise, some visitors don’t spend enough time in Bermuda to make a real financial impact.

“It’s also that the ships don’t seem to be staying in Bermuda very long. They show up at 9am and everyone has to be back on the boat by 4pm. That’s not a lot of time to get up here.

“They have one meal or go to the beach, and then they’re back on the boat.”

The

Veendam is the only cruise ship to regularly visit St George’s for the last two years.

However, due to the size of the ship, it is unable to pass through Town Cut and must anchor at Murray’s Anchorage, with passengers being ferried to and from the town.

Last year, the ship was scheduled to make 24 stops in St George’s, but poor weather and medical emergencies caused it to repeatedly bypass the town. Visits from the ship stopped early after the

Bermudian, which had been used to ferry passengers to and from the ship, was thrown onto the rocks by Hurricane Igor.

The cruise ship MS Veendam sits anchored off St. Georges, as high winds will not allow it to pass through town cut to enter St. Georges Harbor.

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Published August 06, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 06, 2011 at 7:43 am)

St George’s merchants critical of Veendam diversions

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