KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 5, 2017 (CMC) – Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, believes Jamaica’s cruise-shipping sector is poised for further growth.
This, he says, is based on its significant contribution to earnings and visitor arrivals, particularly those generated over the 2016/17 winter tourist season, between January and April.
Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) data show that cruise ship visitors accounted for half of the 1,579,273 tourists who came to the island during the period, which generated record earnings of US$1 billion.
“I think we can all agree that we have never seen a cruise-shipping season like this before. It is one of the big reasons why we had such a successful winter and why there is so much investor confidence and optimism going forward. There is now, every reason to believe we are finally turning the corner in maximising our full earning potential,” said Bartlett in an interview with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
The Tourism Minister was speaking, following his return from a recent two-week visit to Africa and Asia, where he participated in several tourism engagements.
Noting that the figures for the period were “spectacular numbers by any stretch of the imagination”, Bartlett said he was not surprised, given developments in cruise-shipping, locally, over the past four months.
“We simultaneously hosted the six largest cruise ships in the world, including the Royal Caribbean Oasis fleet, led by Harmony of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise vessel,” he noted.
The minister further stated that Royal Caribbean was currently building another Oasis-type ship and has already committed to incorporating Jamaica as part of that vessel’s travel itinerary.
The new vessel, which is slated to be unveiled in late 2018, is expected to replace Harmony of the Seas as the world’s biggest cruise ship.