Jamaica receives endorsement from Carnival
With eight luxury liners and a capacity of 6,000 passengers or more currently under construction, Carnival Corporation has given Jamaica a ringing endorsement, calling it "one of the best and most diversified destinations in the world".
The comments were made by the company's billionaire owner Micky Arison in the executive boardroom of Carnival, the world's biggest cruise company, following a visit by a delegation from the Ministry of Tourism, including the minister, Edmund Bartlett, last Friday.
The flamboyant Arison, who is also the owner of National Basketball Association pro-fessional team the Miami Heat, pointed out that the cruise industry is currently growing at a rate of one new ship every 45 days, with Carnival growing at four new ships per year.
NEW MEGA SHIPS
He also highlighted strong and growing interest from German visitors for Jamaica with its European cruise subsidiary, AIDA, strategically poised for more growth.
"Carnival is also looking forward to Jamaica being able to receive its newest mega ships, the excellence class, which are valued at around US$1 billion each and are slated to enter into service soon," Arison further announced.
Arison, who was flanked by Carnival's Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald and other senior executives, was personally presented with the United Nations World Tourism Organization Global Legend of the Caribbean Award by Bartlett.
The Jamaican delegation also included Ian Dear, chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company; Delano Seiveright, senior adviser/strategist; and Francine Haughton, head of cruise, Jamaica Vacations.
The news couldn't have come at a better time for Jamaica and its tourism ministry, considering the state of public emergency currently taking place in the tourism capital of Montego Bay, which has been causing jitters, if not concern, among many sector players.
Carnival boss has deep love, affection for Jamaica's uniqueness
Micky Arison, owner of Carnival, is reminiscing about his many vacations in Jamaica, spanning several decades, and his deep "love and affection for the island's uniqueness", which he said further inspired the growth of Carnival.
He spent 34 years as CEO of Carnival, helping to grow its fleet from two ships to more than 100, before stepping down in June 2013.
Born in Israel, Arison emigrated to the United States as a young child with his father, Ted Arison, who co-founded Carnival in 1972 with a single ship. Upon its founding, Arison dropped out of university to become a sales rep for the cruise line. Both he and the company never looked back.
"These are the kind of success stories that resonate well with Jamaica and Jamaicans," declared Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. "The Carnival story is also a Jamaican story, considering the relationship we have had with the cruise line and Micky Arison over all these years.
"Jamaica's cruise shipping is very proud to have such a wonderful friend in the Carnival Corporation, which, along with Royal Caribbean, the world's second largest cruise company, have ensured that we continue to get not only business but that our Jamaican workers continue to find gainful employment aboard their vessels."