JIS News

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  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has named a 13-member National Cruise Council (NCC) Board to liaise and monitor cruise-shipping activities on behalf of the Government.
  • The members of the Board are Michael Belnavis (Chairman); Harry Maragh, Marilyn Burrowes, Judy Schoenbein, John Byles, Michael Drakulich, Stephen Facey, William Tatham, Verna Lugg, Lee Bailey, Denny Chandiram, Jason Hall and Denton Edwards.
  • Mr. Bartlett said a determination was made that a private-sector response is needed from persons who have more than a vested interest in what is taking place in the industry and which led to the formation of the NCC.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has named a 13-member National Cruise Council (NCC) Board to liaise and monitor cruise-shipping activities on behalf of the Government.

The members of the Board are Michael Belnavis (Chairman); Harry Maragh, Marilyn Burrowes, Judy Schoenbein, John Byles, Michael Drakulich, Stephen Facey, William Tatham, Verna Lugg, Lee Bailey, Denny Chandiram, Jason Hall and Denton Edwards.

In an interview with JIS News on October 16, Mr. Bartlett said the formation of the Council is to bring the private sector into a structured and organised framework, allowing them to have contacts with the powerful Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and other bodies that are dealing with cruise governance across the region.

“Cruise tourism is expanding and growing, and with that growth there are opportunities that are missing Jamaica. For example, we are not supplying much of the inputs that the cruise industry needs, such as food. Except for water, Jamaica supplies very little by way of what they consume on the ships,” he noted.

The Minister explained that the NCC was formed with this in mind and has been mandated to explore all the opportunities that are out there to see how Jamaica can position itself to make a meaningful impact.

“Millions of passengers cruise the Caribbean on a weekly basis. In the case of Jamaica, we are close to two million cruise visitors on a yearly basis now. The earnings, however, from cruise on a per-capita basis is low. We are just about US$84 per head, and so we have to move that up. We need to take a closer look at the provisions for the experiences of the cruise passengers, so they can spend more money in Jamaica when they come off the ship,” he argued.

Mr. Bartlett said a determination was made that a private-sector response is needed from persons who have more than a vested interest in what is taking place in the industry and which led to the formation of the NCC.

“The NCC, by its core operations, will mimic the FCCA and will work with the Tourism Ministry to secure the integrity of the experience of the visitors and help to protect them on the road. The organisation will also work with those who are deemed the provider of services, such as the artisans, craft vendors, taxi operators and all the people that are in this value chain and who operate in what is called the base of the industry,” Mr. Bartlett noted.

The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organisation comprising 19 cruise lines operating more than 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security and other cruise-industry issues.