MIAMI – More than 900 cruise industry leaders, tour operators and industry related personnel are participating in the 27th annual four-day Cruise Shipping Convention, which began on March 15 at the Miami Beach Convention Centre.
A major highlight of the convention is the ‘Jamaican village’, hosted by the Port Authority of Jamaica to promote the newly constructed Falmouth cruise ship pier in Trelawny, which will be officially opened on March 22, when the world’s largest cruise liner – Oasis of the Seas – makes its inaugural entry into Jamaica.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Adam Goldstein, was among the sector executives who expressed confidence that the outlook for the cruise industry seems positive. “The opportunities we see around the world create room for growth,” he told participants.
A number of panel discussions and one-on-one negotiations form part the four-day agenda, covering topics such as the state and direction of the cruise industry; technical, environmental and safety operations; industry overview; fuel economy; and an insight into the travel industry beyond the growing cruise business.
At the ‘Jamaican Village’, there are displays of tourist attractions mounted by the Port Authority of Jamaica and the Jamaica Tourist Board, and visitors get an opportunity to taste authentic Jamaican coffee and rum punch.
Several Jamaican craft vendors and tour operators are also in attendance showcasing their products to the large gathering of cruise industry personnel.
Also attending the convention are Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, and Deputy Regional Director, Jamaica Tourist Board, Miami, Donny Dawson.
According to Mark Hendriks, Marketing Executive with Royal Caribbean, the Falmouth port is 85 per cent ready. A collaborative venture between the Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, restoration of the berth began nearly three years ago to accommodate the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s mega liner.
The Falmouth cruise port is being transformed as a thematic destination for the growing cruise industry, as it reflects the historic character of one of Jamaica’s oldest towns. According to Mr. Hendriks, the town is a work in progress, to include beautification projects, retail shops and attractions.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Tourism, Jason Hall, told JIS News that a welcome programme has been planned for the arrival of the nearly 6,000 passengers as they disembark the Oasis of the Seas at the Falmouth port, on its maiden voyage across the Caribbean.
By CHERYL WYNTER