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OCHO RIOS, St. Ann; December 3, 2019: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says Ocho Rios is gearing up to welcome 50,000 cruise ship passengers courtesy of the cruise line MSC Meraviglia.
MSC Cruise, an over 300 year old company, entered the cruise business in 1988 and is now the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and Southern Africa.
Speaking at the welcome reception for the ship’s inaugural visit to Ocho Rios today, Minister Bartlett said, “With the additional call of the MSC Meraviglia, which holds 7200 passengers and crew, Jamaica’s cruise tourism is expected to end the year in a very strong position.
More importantly, this addition will see Ocho Rios welcoming 50,000 cruise ship passengers with 10 calls from now until April next year.”
The Meraviglia, which is a sophisticated combination of state of the art technology, design, comfort and practicality, joins Seaside, Divina and Armonia which have been visiting Ocho Rios and Falmouth.
“Jamaica’s cruise tourism will see a boost in arrivals and earnings in the next couple of years with more calls to all ports and the inclusion of Port Royal to the itinerary.
Within the context of reimagining the island’s tourism, we are now looking at cruise tourism specifically as to how we can build out more infrastructure and experiences to attract more visitors and retain more of the cruise dollar,” added Minister Bartlett.
Ocho Rios was just awarded the Caribbean’s leading cruise port at the World Travel Awards in Oman and recently won the Hospitality Jamaica award for the best resort town.
For the period January to October 2019, Ocho Rios has seen an 11.9 per cent increase in calls and 2.6 per cent in passenger arrivals, representing a passenger count of 450,000. Ocho Rios is also expected to see a 4% increase in passenger arrivals by the end of the year, making it the number one port for visitors and calls in the island.