Falmouth ready to take flight - Bartlett
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said Falmouth, Trelawny has the capacity to become the largest distributor of cruise passengers in the Caribbean, projecting that cruise arrivals should reach 1.5 million by 2021.
Bartlett, who was opening the 2017 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, added that the town should also see earnings of US$180 million or J$2 billion from tourism spending. This, he noted, would entail increasing the average spend by each cruise passenger to US$120, up from the $90 now being spent.
PIECE OF THE ACTION
"Jamaica is indeed poised to become the leading cruise ship destination in the region," Bartlett noted. "Jamaica earlier this year played host to the six largest cruise ships in the world. The Falmouth Pier hosted the largest cruise ships in the world - Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas - which are all Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines vessels; while Ocho Rios hosted the Norwegian Epic, the Norwegian Pearl and the Carnival Vista."
Bartlett further pointed out that both Kingston and Port Antonio also got a piece of the action, ensuring that all the island's cruise ports were used up at one time or another.
"This was indeed a rarity for any destination globally," Bartlett added. "Over the next five years, we will significantly boost our capacity to receive luxury cruise lines in the country's major resort towns, including Kingston."
... Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios to be overhauled
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett stated that the Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, St Ann, will be overhauled to the tune of approximately $2 billion between the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), boosting the quality of experience for visitors and other stakeholders and bringing the facility on par with the Falmouth Pier in Trelawny.
"The PAJ is also currently carrying out transformation work, funded by the TEF, at the Ocho Rios Fishing Village to complement the Reynolds Pier project," Bartlett noted during his 2017 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday.
"This thrust is to ensure that we have modern, top-class facilities to attract more of the type of luxury ships that are being built nowadays; thereby making Jamaica a first choice on the cruise itineraries."
He said that to ensure the readiness of Falmouth town for the projected growth in cruise tourism, a target date of 2018 was set to complete several projects aimed at transforming Falmouth into a premiere destination in the region.
"A total of $1.4 billion will be taken from the TEF to finance the projects that include the renovation and restoration of buildings and the development of an artisan village," Bartlett added.