In anticipation of larger cruise vessels coming to Jamaica, US$14 million has been allocated to improve port facilities in Ocho Rios, said Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett.
Bartlett said that two mega liners, one from Carnival and the other from Norwegian Cruise Line, are slated to call on Jamaica in November of this year and the facilities must be ready in time for them to be accommodated.
He also said there will be a renewed focus on developing marquee attractions, which would propel Jamaica to the top of the destination chain and giving it top flight status.
Bartlett said he was very encouraged by the recent visit of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association delegation and their acknowledgement that guests are now more inclined to get off the ships when they are in port.
“We have stepped up our anti-harassment drive and our tourism product has improved tremendously over time,” Bartlett said.
FCCA President, Michelle Paige, told journalists at a press briefing at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay that there is really no magic wand in getting the passengers to come off the ships to enjoy the Jamaican experience.
She said: “We just have to continue sensitising the people that the more comfortable the visitors feel are the more inclined they will want to be to get off the ships to interact. Most of the people, from what we see, are coming off but we also want those who have not been, to come off and enjoy all the wonderful things that Jamaica has to offer.”