JIS News

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  • Mr. Bartlett said the cruise industry is poised for growth with a projected arrival of 1.8 million persons in 2016, up from 1.7 million in 2015.
  • He said the establishment of the Cruise Council is intended to create an intermediary between the Government and the cruise partners, and to also provide a voice for cruise operators in Jamaica in the international marketplace.
  • He noted that the Cruise Council will work with the Tourism Product Development Company (Deco) and the Tourist Board, as well as the Port Authority to ensure that the townships and spaces are in pristine condition.

The National Cruise Council has been given the mandate of growing the local cruise-shipping industry, to ensure sustainable growth and development of the sector.

The charge was given by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, during a meeting of the Council on October 27, at the Ministry’s New Kingston Offices.

Mr. Bartlett said the cruise industry is poised for growth with a projected arrival of 1.8 million persons in 2016, up from 1.7 million in 2015.

“If we do that, then we will have four million arrivals for visitors this year, and that will be an all-time record,” he said.

The Tourism Minister emphasised that the sector needs to grow in terms of earnings as well.

“The real Achilles heel for us is that the per capita earning from cruising is abysmally low in relation to our competitors. And that per capita spend has to move from the US$84 that it is now, to US$100, and then we expect that it would get to US$150 by 2020,” Mr. Bartlett said.

He said the establishment of the Cruise Council is intended to create an intermediary between the Government and the cruise partners, and to also provide a voice for cruise operators in Jamaica in the international marketplace.

Meanwhile, the Minister said work needs to be done to defeat the perception of tourist harassment “by creating a real position… where the visitor feels comfortable because of the friendliness that exists and because of the environment we have created”.

 “The National Cruise Council will assist us in enabling that feeling. We have to organise ourselves at the ports in a better way… for example, ground transportation arrangements, but more importantly, how we keep our towns and how we maintain our spaces,” Mr. Bartlett said.

He noted that the Cruise Council will work with the Tourism Product Development Company (Deco) and the Tourist Board,  as well as the Port Authority to ensure that the townships and spaces are in pristine condition.

The 13-member Council, which is chaired by Michael Belnavis, was recently named by the Minister.

Responsibilities of the National Cruise Council include: advocating for the cruise business in Jamaica, monitoring global cruise shipping trends, strategically safeguarding relationships with cruise shipping lines, and enhancing the experience of the cruise ship passenger.

Additionally, the Council will make recommendations that will result in Jamaica’s cruise shipping industry embracing principles of sustainable tourism for development through appropriate policies.