Thu | Feb 22, 2018

Tourism is Jamaica's oil - Holness

Published:Saturday | December 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Buoyed by a flurry of positive developments in the tourism sector, including the recent visit of a packed cruise ship to Kingston and the docking of the largest cruise ship in the world in Falmouth last month, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, accompanied by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, visited the headquarters of the world's largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation, in Miami on Thursday.

"Industry leaders were quick to point out that this was the first time a Jamaican prime minister had visited the headquarters of the 44 year-old Carnival, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line brands," stated Delano Seiveright, senior adviser to the tourism minister.


Meeting with key players


Holness and Bartlett were in Miami meeting with key players in tourism from the Caribbean, North America and Europe.

"Tourism is God's gift to Jamaica. It's our oil," noted Holness, while in discussion with high-level tourism business interests in Carnival's boardroom. Among those seated at the table were Israeli-American business tycoon, chairman of Carnival Corporation and Miami Heats owner, Micky Arison; Adam Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises; Richard Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises, and other leading global cruise industry officials.

Holness commented on the models and structural adjustments needed to enhance revenue and visitor traffic from cruise lines. He also discussed improvements in tourism security and assured the stakeholders of his government's commitment to further transform cruise tourism to the benefit of Jamaicans and cruise businesses.

In addition, the prime minister hailed Bartlett and his team for the hard work displayed by them and the success being reaped by the ministry. Bartlett was awarded the 2016 World Travel Award for World's Leading Personality for Outstanding Services to Travel in the Maldives two weeks ago by the World Travel Awards.

Cabinet recently approved the drafting of the Tourism Workers Pension Act to facilitate the creation of a much-needed pension fund for all tourism workers, including red cap porters, craft vendors, ground transportation operators and hotel workers. The approval also clears the way for parliamentary approval to be sought for the act to facilitate the establishment of the pension scheme; to amend the Tourism Enhancement Fund Act to allow for the disbursement of $1 billion to facilitate the start-up of the pension scheme.