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Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett today said that Jamaica’s cruise tourism sector is still on a strong growth path despite the coming temporary withdrawal of two cruise ships from the Port of Falmouth.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) has not included Falmouth calls for its new vessel, Symphony of the Seas, and will be temporarily repositioning Allure of the Seas after April 2018, with it returning December 2018.
Bartlett noted that while Falmouth will lose some passenger traffic, the overall growth in cruise numbers for Montego Bay and Ocho Rios will offset those losses and result in continued growth in cruise visitor numbers. He also noted that Falmouth will quickly recover in due course and that Jamaica is commonly referred to by Cruise Executives as the “Pearl of the Caribbean’ due to its broad and diverse attractiveness, culture, and appeal.
He went on to state that cruise lines generally review itineraries from time to time, usually up to two years in advance, and has been assured by RCCL that the ships will return to Falmouth. He pointed out that new and enhanced cruise ports in the Western Caribbean have also impacted the allotment of cruise ships regionally.
Minister Bartlett noted that the Ministry of Tourism, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Tourism Product Development Company, the National Cruise Council, in conjunction with the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), which manages Jamaica’s ports, and other public sector and private sector stakeholders, are working assiduously to address some of the challenges in the town of Falmouth.
He highlighted that a team led by prominent Tourism Business leader and National Cruise Council member, John Byles, has already submitted recommendations for improving the Falmouth experience and is now in early implementation stage.
He also noted that the Tourism Ministry is quietly working with relevant players to address challenges at the Labadee cruise port in Haiti and the development of a cruise port in the Cayman Islands to enhance the offerings on the Jamaica cruise route as urged by Cruise Executives.
From January 1 to the end of May 2017, Jamaica saw 885,231 cruise passenger arrivals, up by 5.4 percent over the same period last year. That growth trajectory is expected to continue.
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