Tourism recovery efforts get major boost from return of cruise shipsFriday, October 29, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica: Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett says the scheduled return of cruise ships across the island's ports, beginning in mid-November, is a strong vote of confidence by major international stakeholders in the safety of and demand for brand Jamaica.
Additionally, the return of these cruise ships also signals the nearly full reopening of an industry that is crucial to Jamaica's tourism recovery efforts and will aid greatly in bringing back much-needed jobs, according to a release from the ministry of tourism.
“Our tourism industry is quickly recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrivals figures are climbing, airlift for the winter season is looking good, and the winter cruise schedule will be very busy, with an uptick in November which will see multiple ships docking in Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Port Antonio,” Bartlett said.
These cruise lines include The World, a boutique cruise line for Port Antonio; the Carnival Sunrise, Norwegian Gem, MSC Meraviglia, AIDAdiva, among others, for Ocho Rios; and the Emerald Princess for the Port of Falmouth.
“Cruise is an integral part of our tourism product and an important driver in terms of visitor arrivals and expenditure. Thousands of Jamaicans depend on the cruise shipping industry,” the minister added
Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise line, has committed to sending 110 or more cruises (200,000 cruise ship passengers), by its various brands, to the island between October 2021 and April 2022.
Royal Caribbean International, the second largest cruise line in the world, will resume limited operations to Jamaica in November of this year. Also, cruise executives reiterated a strong desire to employ thousands of Jamaicans across a wide range of jobs and are awaiting government regulatory amendments to make it a reality.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, with Carnival's 16-call itinerary over the next three months, MSC Meraviglia's return, and Royal Caribbean, Disney, and other cruise lines ready to begin sailing in the Caribbean, Jamaica could have cruises back on track by December, with nearly the whole fleet.
By the end of the year, Bartlett expects just under 300,000 cruise passengers to visit Jamaica.
“We have been heavily marketing Port Royal to our international investors during our various marketing engagements overseas. During our meeting with TUI, they disclosed several planned visits and calls on the Port Royal Cruise Port, starting in January. We expect to have five calls from January through April 2022 in Port Royal. We have also been in discussion with key partners in Dubai regarding plans to also invest in the tourism product in Port Royal,” he said.