Cruise Industry Recovering Strongly – Minister Bartlett

Cruise Industry Recovering Strongly – Minister Bartlett

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the cruise industry is recovering strongly, following a lull due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a destination assurance meeting in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on April 20, Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica continues to see an uptick in cruise passenger arrivals, with approximately 855,000 visiting in 2022.

He further indicated that 1.4 million passengers are projected to arrive during the current calendar year.

The Minister said cruise lines have further demonstrated their confidence in Jamaica by recruiting approximately 10,000 Jamaicans to work on ships overseas in 2022.

The Minister said based on discussions with the executives of major cruise lines, Jamaica remains a first call destination on their list, and should be seeing increased activity over the forthcoming months.

“While the numbers are not yet back up to our standards, we have been getting our fair share of the market. Last December we welcomed the largest cruise ship in the World [the Wonder of the Seas] and, yes… its owners… Royal Caribbean… have committed to sending us more of their Oasis class vessels,” he indicated.

Mr. Bartlett said the cruise subsector is rapidly growing and becoming a vital component of the global tourism industry.

To this end, Mr. Bartlett announced that Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has committed to increasing the number of passengers brought to Jamaica in 2023, while strengthening its training partnership with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).

“This agreement was reached at the 28th Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, last October,” he further informed.

The Minister said Jamaica has demonstrated that, even when the pandemic forced a lockdown of all local ports of call, comprising Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Kingston, Port Royal, and Port Antonio, much work was undertaken to ensure the seamless and safe return of the ships.

“I must commend the work being done by Jamaica Vacations Limited (JamVac) as well as the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) to drive the country’s cruise tourism recovery efforts,” he stated.

Mr. Bartlett indicated that there is currently a significant increase in interest in homeporting, with top global travel company, TUI, giving consideration to having a second vessel homeport in Port Royal, while Germany’s Aida Cruises continues to do so in Montego Bay.

“As a result, Jamaica’s homeporting opportunities have expanded, and we have seen a rise from 25 per cent to 40 per cent in pre/post cruise extension visits,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett said the global cruise industry’s remarkable recovery can be attributed to “pent-up demand”, adding that he expects the trend to continue throughout 2023.

This, he maintained, is testament to the high calibre of human capital “within our country, which allows more Jamaicans to earn a living and make significant contributions to their families and the local economy through remittances… providing much-needed foreign exchange.”

“The growth of cruise tourism in Jamaica presents a significant opportunity to drive the resurgence of the tourism industry, create employment opportunities, and contribute to the economic growth of our country. We remain committed to providing world-class experiences to all our visitors and ensuring that Jamaica remains a top tourist destination,” Mr. Bartlett said


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  1. Pingback: Strong recovery in cruise industry – Secretary Bartlett – kodaktravel

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