Jamaica Readies for a Surge in Cruise Tourism

Double call

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett revealed that Jamaica’s tourism sector is poised for continued growth with 1.26 million recorded arrivals in 2023, 48.3 percent above 2022 figures.

“I am pleased to say that the expectation is that the 2024/25 vessel arrivals and passenger count will equal or exceed those in the 2023/24 fiscal year despite the challenges in the sector,” said Bartlett during his opening speech of the 2024-25 Sectoral Debate in Parliament.

“Royal Caribbean  has reaffirmed its commitment to Jamaica and has set a target of maintaining their tally of 400,000 visitors to Falmouth every year. Additionally, Disney Cruise Lines expressed their satisfaction with their current operations in Falmouth and have expressed their willingness to consider Port Royal as a future destination, pending the requisite logistical arrangements,” he added. 

Additionally, Bartlett emphasized discussions with MSC Cruises about a potential larger strategic partnership and infrastructure investments in Jamaica. Negotiations to attract high-end yacht operators are also underway, he added.

Reflecting on Jamaica’s strategic advantages for cruise tourism, Bartlett added: “Our cruise partners also acknowledged the importance of the island’s ability to bunker vessels. Bunkering refers to the process of supplying fuel to ships, and Jamaica is the only Caribbean destination with the capacity to bunker vessels with Liquified Natural Gas.”

Bartlett also discussed Jamaica’s homeporting potential and said “Jamaica is also able to serve as a homeporting destination, and we are exploring opportunities to expand the supply of goods and services to the vessels that visit our ports.” 

The tourism minister also addressed the temporary closure of the main berth in Ocho Rios due to weather damage earlier this year.

“Vessels originally scheduled to dock at the main terminal have been rescheduled to Reynolds Pier. Fortunately, investments were made to improve cruise handling capabilities at Reynolds Pier, allowing Ocho Rios to retain a significant portion of its cruise calls and passengers. All the other vessels not booked into the Reynolds Pier have been rebooked to berths in Falmouth and Montego Bay.” 


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