Destination Manager of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Kenya Keddo-Laing, says the agency is pleased with the resumption of cruise shipping to Montego Bay since the halt of cruise operations, due to the coronavirus (COVD-19) outbreak.
“After 20 months of not seeing a cruise vessel in our port, we are to receive our first vessel for the 2021/2022 cruise ship season. The Carnival Glory will dock at berth six on Wednesday, December 1, at 7:00 a.m.,” Mrs. Keddo-Laing noted.
She was addressing the St. James Municipal Corporation’s Multisectoral Forum, held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, on Monday (November 29).
Mrs. Keddo-Laing said TPDCo is excited about the resumption of the cruise-shipping in Montego Bay, noting that many depend on the sector for their livelihood.
“It has been a long pause and we are just as excited as the craft traders, contract carriage operators, the tour operators and the attractions, whose livelihood depends on this industry. We welcome our first vessel for the season,” she said.
“We (Montego Bay) are expecting at total of six vessels during the month of December and nine vessels in January,” Mrs. Keddo-Laing added.
In the meantime, she indicated that strict COVID-19 safety protocols are to be observed and practised on the port. Additionally, she emphasised that unvaccinated persons will not be allowed entry to the port after December 31, 2020.
“Stakeholders were sensitised about the new normal while operating on the port of Montego Bay. Stakeholders were advised that only prebooked tours that are sold onboard the ship, and controlled freelance tours, will be allowed to operate. These tours will be closely monitored by TPDCo personnel and by various factions,” Mrs. Keddo-Laing said.
“We are mindful of the need to maintain strict protocols and we will be doing our best, in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica, to ensure that destination Montego Bay remains safe and ready to open this very important industry,” she added.
For his part, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Leeroy Williams, said that the return of cruise shipping to the city is testament that Montego Bay is “recovering better and stronger”.
He said the Municipal Corporation is looking forward to the reopening of the industry.
The St. James Municipal Corporation’s Multisectoral Forum was held under the theme ‘Building & Sustaining a Resilient City’.
The event featured Heads of agencies and Montego Bay stakeholders who made presentations on topics related to health, disaster risk management, infrastructure and traffic management, policing strategies, COVID-19 and vaccination, among others.