Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Falmouth not losing cruise ships, says Port Authority

Published:Wednesday | July 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) is dismissing reports that the Falmouth Port will be losing three major cruise ships.

In a media release, the PAJ, part owners of the port, sought to clarify that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) will be repositioning its vessel Allure of the Seas after April 2018; however, it returns to Falmouth in December 2018.

The release also indicated that Symphony of the Seas was not scheduled to call at Falmouth and Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of RCCL, was late in making berthing reservations, resulting in the available berth going to Princess Cruises.

Admitting that the country will lose some business because of the repositioning of the Allure of the Seas, the PAJ said the decline in earnings for the destination should be contemplated in relation to the summer season which generally records approximately 40 per cent downturn in cruise arrivals, compared to the winter season.

The 2018 summer season, the organisation explained, will not see significant variation, when compared to 2016 and 2017. It is, therefore, prudent to contextualise the projected decline in earnings within the period December to April.

Action being taken to combat tourist harassment in Falmouth

In recent years, three cruise lines have accounted for most of the cruise calls and passenger arrivals to Falmouth.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), with its subsidiary Celebrity Cruises, accounted for just over 80 per cent of cruise passenger arrivals, with the flagship RCCL accounting for more than 75 per cent.

Disney Cruises accounted for just over 10 per cent, and other cruise lines with a few odd calls in the main winter season accounted for less than 10 per cent, statistics release by the PAJ shows.

The PAJ acknowledged that harassment concerns remained a major issue and, as a result, the organisation has undertaken some small to medium-size projects to assist in improving the appeal of Falmouth.

These include the construction of a new dry goods and food produce market, the installation of directional maps throughout the town, a streetscape improvement project along Market Street, a major rehabilitation of Seaboard Street, and the adoption and maintenance of Water Square.

The PAJ said it is also lending its expertise to interagency collaboration with the Tourism Product Development Company, the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, National Works Agency, National Heritage Trust, the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Urban Development Corporation, the Ministry of Tourism and the Cruise Council to mitigate these concerns, reduce harassment, eliminate congestion and realise improvements to the town to enhance its competitiveness.

The PAJ said it continues to pursue meaningful engagement opportunities with the people of Falmouth and supports as well as facilitates many of the town's initiatives. The organisation argues that not only has it invested in many commercial developments in Falmouth but also in the overall improvement of the community.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com