Jamaica Outlines Ambitious Cruise Initiatives

Cruise passengers in KingstonJamaica has outlined ambitious cruise initiatives designed to grow its position as a leading cruise destination in the Caribbean.

Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism, and Paul Pennicock, director of tourism, said plans calls for upgrading and expanding Jamaica’s cruise ports to accommodate more and larger ships, while also enhancing the guest experience.

Falmouth, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are already major cruise ports. In addition, Bartlett said he wants to develop Kingston as a major port and destination, while expanding Port Antonio to receive more calls from smaller cruise vessels.

Other efforts include spending several million dollars over the next five years to strengthen the communities around the ports, including safety and security.

He said another objective is to have more Jamaicans work aboard the ships and that he is committed to working with the cruise lines on training facilities on the island.

In addition, Jamaica is preparing for new and emerging markets, Bartlett said, such as China. Cuba was also described as a game changer, and Jamaica has signed a tourism agreement with Cuba to develop a collaborative approach to tourism rather than competitive, he noted.

The bottom line is that Jamaica has set itself a five-year target, according to Bartlett, to reach 2.3 million to 2.5 million passengers, from nearly 1.7 million last year, while seeing the direct employment of some 125,000 Jamaicans in the cruise industry.

Jamaica recently had six large vessels in port on the same day – in Falmouth, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston with more than 20,000 passengers.

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