With more millennials booking cruises, Jamaica’s tourism ministry, its various agencies and local stakeholders are working to come up with new activities for them to do when they come ashore. The move is expected to be a boon for community tourism.
“We have passengers now — and we’ve never had this before — who go to an attraction that they probably bought on board and… they come back early and they want to find out what else can they do. And they’re ready to jump and go again. We have a younger traveller now, so they’re more adventurous, they want to see Jamaica,” said executive director of Jamaica Vacations Ltd (Jamvac) Joy Roberts.
The tourism ministry is working with locals to provide tours and events that meet these needs.
“What we’re seeing now is that the new cruise traveller, post-COVID, are the millennials. And they want to give back to the communities. So they want to… do a tour that, yes… maybe gastronomy, maybe visiting a heritage site; but they also want to go to a school, or they want to go to a clinic, and they want to do something with the people. I mean, these guys really want to get involved in the communities. So these are some of the things that we’re looking at: how we’re going to be able to position tours that will include a school, a clinic, or something that makes them feel that they not just came for the day and had a good time, but they impacted the community left behind,” said Roberts.
“There are lots of untapped areas. And the plan is to sit down with TPDCo (Tourism Product Development Company) and look and see how we can establish more of these untapped attractions,” she added.
Jamvac and TPDCo are both agencies within the Ministry of Tourism.
In addition to giving cruise passengers more options, these new ventures will also be a way to channel income directly to smaller tourism players who have over the years complained of not earning their fair share from the sector. According to Roberts, an effort will be made to include more locals as they expand the offerings in and around the country’s ports and nearby communities.
She said work has already begun in Montego Bay.
“We have the hop-on-hop-off [shuttle] that picks up passengers at the port [and] takes them into the hip strip. But we’re expanding that… to include… the city centre area of St James. We have started already adding sporting events. Passengers want to come… do a cycling tour; some people want to come and play golf. And we’re also including that in the packages that we offer,” she said.