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Kingston, Jamaica –April 16, 2015: 2014 was Jamaica’s best year ever for cruise shipping as the island welcomed 1.4 million cruise ship visitors, a 12.5 percent increase over 2013.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, made this announcement during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament, on Tuesday, April 14, 2014.
“Already this year we are up 8.5% and again we have had increases in all three ports,” said Minister McNeill. “This year for the first time we have a record breaking three cruise ships home porting in Montego Bay – the Louis Cristal, Thomson Dream and AIDA Bella – with all the concomitant goods and services required to tender these vessels,” the Tourism Minister added. Next year Jamaica will welcome a fourth cruise ship to its shores for home porting.
Transformational Projects in Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay that started last year are well underway and will provide improved services and a more attractive landscape to the thousands of visitors that pass through the island’s ports.
“In Ocho Rios, we have completed phases one and two of the J$400 million resort upgrading project. This year we will commence phases three and four of the project, which will see the total reconstruction of the promenade as well as work on the Ocho Rios Main Street, including areas that are to be pedestrianised,” said Minister McNeill.
In Falmouth, a streetscape project is now underway and work has already started on Harbour Lane and will begin this week on Falmouth Street.
In Montego Bay, work is ongoing on the lighting of the Elegant Corridor, to be completed by May 31 of this year.
In addition to upgrades to the Elegant Corridor, Minister McNeill also announced a new transformational project to put the “hip” back in the second city’s Hip Strip. Over the last few months, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has held a series of consultations with stakeholders and community leaders from the public and private sectors.
“Out of these consultations, we have agreed on a comprehensive plan of action to be implemented over a period of time. It has been decided that the first step must be to address the unsightly light posts and overhead wiring along the Strip before any further work can be commenced,” said Minister McNeill. A team is determining how this is to be addressed and this phase of the upgrade is expected to begin in this fiscal year.