Jamaica has its sights set on welcoming three million cruise ship visitors by 2025 through the combined efforts of the country’s tourism ministry, its various agencies and the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ).
Tourism minister Edmund Bartlett made the announcement during the recent Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC) Executive Management and Board Retreat, hosted at Royalton Blue Waters in Trelawny.
“Our intention is to ensure that Jamaica gets three million cruise passengers by 2025. We have built out the infrastructure, and we are going to do further work in the marketplace in order to accomplish this important objective,” said Bartlett.
“The energy that both the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and JAMVAC will be putting into the market will be to position Jamaica, not just as a Caribbean destination of choice, but a destination that is attractive to people in Europe in particular, as well as Asia and the Middle East,” he added.
Bartlett noted that JAMVAC would continue working closely with the PAJ, the JTB, and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to achieve this goal.
The welcome news comes amid reports that the cruise sub-sector, which re-opened in August, has been steadily growing. The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has reported that cruise passengers totaled 8,379 from five ships for the months of August and September. There were none during the corresponding period of 2020. The PIOJ also outlined that Real Value Added for the Hotels & Restaurants industry was estimated to have grown by 114.7 per cent for the July to September period of 2021, when compared to the same period for 2020. Stopover visitor arrivals for the months of July and August 2021 increased by 293.3 per cent, over the same period for 2020.
JAMVAC is a public body of the Ministry of Tourism and was founded in 1978. It oversees the Ministry’s airlift and cruise portfolios. Its mandate is to create the conditions for Jamaica’s visitor numbers to grow at a faster rate. It also aims to provide, protect, and increase airlift capacity on both scheduled and charter routes by collaborating with existing and potential new carriers to ensure adequate capacity on each route. In addition, it markets directly to cruise agents, solicits calls to Jamaican ports from cruise lines, and ensures that passengers’ onshore experiences are always at their best.
JAMVAC is governed by a board of directors, chaired by Bertram Wright, and Joy Roberts is the current executive director.