Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism the Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook announced at Seatrade Cruise Global a new ambitious Cruise Jamaica initiative. The announcement established the goal of increasing cruise ship calls and new developments at the country’s cruise ports, hotels and attractions and falls directly in line with the Minister’s five pillars of Jamaica’s tourism development.
Specifically, the Minister shared Jamaica’s goal of reaching 5 million passengers by 2020, earning $5 billion in direct earnings and employing 125,000 Jamaicans. The island currently receives approximately seven percent of the Caribbean’s cruise arrivals, with a goal of reaching 10 percent. These figures translate to 1.6 million cruise passengers as of 2016 and Jamaica is projecting to achieve 2 million cruise passengers by the end of 2017. In 2016 the destination saw 518 port calls.
“The cruise industry has already demonstrated its confidence in our wonderful island, as evidenced by our recent hosting of a record six ships simultaneously,” said Minister Bartlett. “With the Cruise Jamaica Initiative we are setting forth a vision that will improve and impact our country for decades to come and expose more of the world to the captivating culture, people and traditions of Jamaica.”
The Minister and Director explained that their vision to achieving these tourism gains are linked to the island’s continued commitment to developing new port opportunities in addition to its current port locations, building deeper relationships with cruise lines and expanding regional port itineraries through collaborations with other Caribbean destinations. Plans to increase Jamaica’s cruise shipping capacity are already underway across the five cruise port terminals through projects which include port expansion, redesign and dredging and providing improved access to port towns, shopping, sightseeing and arts and culture. Specifically highlighted were intentions to develop Kingston into a major cruise destination and port as well as expanding Port Antonio to receive increased calls from boutique ships.
Jamaica is home to five vibrant and bustling cruise ports including Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Kingston and Port Antonio. Highlights of port developments can be found below:
Port of Montego Bay: Montego Bay recently increased cruise ship berthing capacity and added new cruise terminal buildings. The port also increased ground transportation opportunities for disembarking cruise passengers.
Kingston Port: Kingston Port plans to increase cruise ship and passenger capacity. Improvements will include deep dredging to accommodate for larger ships.
Port of Ocho Rios: Enhancing the visitor experience is central to upgrades that will take place at the Ocho Rios port. This will include Artisan Villages to increase cultural integrations in the port experience.
Port of Falmouth: The Port of Falmouth opened in 2011 as Jamaica’s first custom built port. The port features a courtyard for shopping, dining and entertainment and is located in a Georgian town with historic areas ideal for visitor exploration and is highly rated on Trip Advisor.
Port Antonio: Port Antonio is ideal for smaller luxury cruise lines and yachts. A master plan is in development for the port and the surrounding area.
Beyond physical capabilities, Jamaica has announced their commitment to building upon cruise consumer’s destination assurances through increased and diversified hospitality training, which would yield stronger human capital. The cruise ports of Jamaica are also increasing security measures and the cultural reception of cruisers upon arrival. These cultural aspects not only demonstrate a rising trend in the world’s leading cruise ports, they also present economic opportunities for local artists, transportation workers and the island’s nearly 150 distinct attractions.