Cruise ship comes calling in Kingston; little spending, though
Vendors at the Kingston Craft Market (KCM) were yesterday left disappointed by the low number of sales of their merchandises despite hundreds of cruise passengers roaming their space for at least five hours.
The cruise vessel, the MS Monarch, which has a carrying capacity of 2,700 guests plus an additional 900 crew members, docked along Berth Two at the Kingston Wharves yesterday morning with 1,953 passengers.
Of the total passengers, about 600 visited the market.
"They're here in numbers, but them not spending," said Verilata, a craft vendor who has operated a shop at the KCM since 1994.
With the influx of tourists coming shortly after nine in the morning and the MS Monarch set to depart at 3:30 p.m., Verilata said that at about
2 p.m., her sales had amounted to a meagre US$30.
"I'm selling my bags for US$16 each and they want to pay me US$10. If I sell it for US$10, I would have to lock up shop, because I wouldn't be able to pay the rent," she told The Gleaner while motioning a group of persons towards her stall.
A few feet away, another vendor, Rita Leslie, was a glum figure, initially refusing to comment but later stating: "Nothing nah really gwaan. Is a lot of them, but few purchases."
In noting that it was just the second time in a year that Kingston has hosted a top-flight-cruise vessel, vice-president of the KCM, Karol Stubbs-Jamieson, said that while the visitors weren't splurging, the port activity was an encouraging sign.
Jamieson, who also operates the popular Kathy's Kraft Korner in the market, further called on the Government to better promote Kingston as a cruise destination.
"They should bring back the ferries so there is more activity in Kingston. There are Jamaicans all over that are saying it's the first they're hearing of KCM, and that's ridiculous. We need more promotion, but this, I believe, is the beginning of greater things."