Jamaican Government Behind on Cruise Shipping - Shahine Robinson

Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism and Cruise Shipping, Shahine Robinson, today expressed serious concerns about the gross lack of direction from the government on our cruise shipping sector.

Mrs. Robinson’s concerns come on the heels of recent announcements by the world’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Lines of its intent to develop a US$70 million cruise ship port in Tortuga, Haiti and its scheduled opening of a another port in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic.

Mrs. Robinson also expressed serious concern that as of May 2015,Carnival Breeze, one of the largest ships built for Carnival, will no longer call on Ocho Rios, which will result in a fall off of approximately 100,000 visitors per year, job losses and a decline in business.

Mrs. Robinson reiterated that cruise shipping for the most part, has been treated like the “step-child” of the tourism sector even though it offers multiple opportunities for growth. She also stated that Jamaica’s cruise ship arrivals last year were down by 4.2% over 2012, with Ocho Rios down by 3.2% and Montego Bay down by an alarming 29.8%.

In closing, Mrs. Robinson urged the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill to pull together a multi-stakeholder team to work towards ensuring that we:

  1. Boost berthing capacity and cruise ship arrivals the latter by means including aggressive courting of the major cruise lines,
  2. Effectively balance the cruise ship traffic spread across the resort towns including Port Antonio which has massive potential for exclusive boutique tourism and;
  3. Make our resort towns more attractive and tourist friendly, so as to attract more visitors to disembark and spend much needed foreign exchange.