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KINGSTON, Jamaica; February 14, 2017: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that Kingston is set to welcome more cruise ships, with the next vessel set to dock in the first quarter of 2017. While addressing the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) today (February 14, 2017), he shared that the Ministry of Tourism has placed great emphasis on expanding cruise tourism in the island, with special focus being placed on the restoration of the ports of Kingston and its environs.
“We are going all out to work with the cruise lines. I just came back from Miami, where over the weekend we met with representatives of one of the largest cruise-lines in the world, talking about Kingston and the restoration of cruise activity in the ports of Kingston,” shared Minister Bartlett.
Last December, Kingston welcomed its largest cruise ship ever, the MS Monarch which is operated by Pullmantur, the largest Spanish Cruise line. The visit was also historic because it was the first time the island had mega-ships in the main ports in Kingston, Falmouth, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios at the same time.
“I am so excited to announce that the MS Monarch will be adding Kingston to its itinerary for the next two years. That is great news for us because we have always felt that destination Kingston has a particular allurement, charm and value of its own that is deserving of recognition,” said the Minister.
The Minister also disclosed that the port of Kingston is set to welcome another cruise-ship, the Noble Caledonia’s MS Serenissima, on March 5, 2017.
As the Ministry of Tourism continues to position Kingston as a major tourist destination, the Minister shared that more work needs to be done to not only improve the perception that people have about Kingston, but to also work on the restoration and creation of key infrastructure.
“There are not many things that we need to do to revitalize the cruise and tourism industry in Kingston, except for the important investment in creating a port that is suitable for cruise, which is a discussion we are currently having. The Norman Manley International Airport is also being positioned to be a central entrepôt to give the confluence that we require for cruise, air and sea activities,” said Minister Bartlett.
He also urged the councillors to make it their point of duty to assist the Ministry of Security to ensure that the Kingston sees a notable reduction in criminal activities. This as some cruise companies need the assurance that cruise in Kingston will be safe, secure and seamless, before adding Kingston to their itineraries.
The Minister also shared that restorative work will be carried out in Kingston under Spruce Up Jamaica programme to enhance the tourism offerings in the city.
Some J$40 million has been allocated to the building of entranceways to Kingston and J$10 million has been allocated to the restoration of Ward Theatre. Money has also been allocated to develop cemeteries, the Victoria Craft Market and provide economic support through affordable loans to Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs).