December 7, 2016
By Garwin Davis
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica hosting six cruise vessels on December 6 is a sign of bigger things to come, and that the country is on track for a record winter season.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Bartlett said that Jamaica would have equalled its record haul of seven ships for a day, had a Carnival Cruise Line vessel that was slated for Falmouth not cancelled due to operational issues.
Jamaica, in 2012, had seven ships calling in one day in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Falmouth and Port Antonio.
“I can tell you that based on the demands that are coming our way, it is just a matter of time before we start getting more record hauls,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out.
“We will now have to seriously look at the possibility for more berthing spaces at the ports, especially to accommodate the mega liners and the Oasis-class luxury vessels,” he added.
Mr. Edmund Bartlett also commended the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), noting that the work they have been doing has not only been exemplary, but the agency has been very proactive in ensuring that Jamaica’s cruise industry remains competitive and first-rate.
“The PAJ has announced plans to expand and renovate the Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios. The agency will also be doing the same at the Port of Montego Bay, where its master plan to bring the facility up to major First-World standard is about to commence. At this rate, Jamaica is certainly on course to be the number-one port of call in the region,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett said he is also encouraged that Kingston, for the first time in three years, received a cruise ship. He noted that this is just a mere tip of the iceberg, adding that the capital city has its own style of uniqueness that visitors will find appealing.
He said that Port Antonio will not be forgotten, noting that the resort town is poised to receive some of the smaller boutique ships.
“Discussions are far advanced to ensure that Port Antonio also gets its fair share of the pie. The larger vessels cannot dock there, but we have some of those boutique ships that are tailor-made for that kind of market,” the Minister noted.