Jamaica News: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says with Ocho Rios welcoming eight ships in four days, the resort town is poised for a spectacular 2018 in cruise tourism.
In an interview with JIS News on November 20, Mr. Bartlett said it is not by mere coincidence that Ocho Rios is off to such a magnificent start, and that this is just a “prelude” for what is to come for the 2018/2019 cruise ship season.
“Our marketing team has been working overtime in laying the groundwork for what we are now seeing,” the Minister said.
“On Sunday, we had Island Princess, one of the flagship fleets from Princess Cruises and also the TUI Cruise vessel, the Mein Schiff. On Monday, we had the Monarch and the MSC Seaside, while on Tuesday, we had the Norwegian Epic and the MSC Divina. Then on Wednesday, we will have the Carnival Sensation and the Norwegian Star,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett said that it is with great pride that Jamaica continues to drive the tourism experience that makes all the destinations within the region recognise “where tourism truly can go”.
He noted that cruise tourism has taken a new turn, particularly in terms of the quality of the shoreside experience that Jamaica has been offering.
“Ocho Rios has become one of the most outstanding and aesthetically appealing cruise centres that is simply a must-see. It is also one of the most attractive cruise ports in the region,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The Minister also noted that in Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain and Chukka, Ocho Rios boasts four of the finest attractions in the western hemisphere, making it a first-call destination for both cruise and stopover visitors.
For his part, President of the National Cruise Council and Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Michael Belnavis said he is very excited with the start of the new cruise season and the manner in which Ocho Rios has responded.
“Our stakeholders, including our taxi men and craft vendors, have been having a rough couple of months and truly welcome the return of the cruise ships,” Mr. Belnavis told JIS News.
“Everybody has a fighting chance when the cruise ships are here, and we are doing everything to keep it this way,” he said.
The Minister, in the meantime, said he also expects the other cruise ports to come into their own, and that the long-term goal is to see cruise ships having daily calls also in Kingston, Port Antonio, Falmouth and Montego Bay.
“The Falmouth Port is now considered the number-three port in the region for cruise shipping. It is the only one in Jamaica that can currently host the Royal Caribbean Oasis-type vessels, and we are doing everything we can to make the experience of the visitor as comfortable as we can, and that is why we have been spending a lot of time on the ground there in anticipation of a very rewarding cruise season,” he said.
Source: JIS News