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KINGSTON, Jamaica; May 31, 2021: A concerted effort by the Ministry of Tourism to have Jamaica become a major player in cruise homeporting, has received overwhelming support from tourism stakeholders in the private and public sectors, both locally and internationally. The tourism partners are confident that there are many benefits to gained from the initiative.
Among those agreeing that Jamaica has what it takes to reap the benefits of homeporting are Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Norman Dunn; Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations Ltd. (JamVac), Mrs. Joy Roberts; Manager of the Falmouth Cruise Ship Terminal, Mr. Mark Hylton; Executive Director of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), Mrs. Imega Breese McNab and Operations Lead Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ms. Olga Gomez Garcia.
They were participants in the latest session in the online forum series being hosted by the Knowledge Network of the Tourism Linkages Network (TLN). The forum, held recently, explored the topic: “Cruise Homeporting: Benefits for Our Destination”. Moderator, Director of Tourism, Mr. Donovan White said the webinar was being staged against the background that “the summer tourism season will be a pivotal period in the reopening of Jamaica’s tourism industry and as such, initiatives that support and stimulate a strengthened tourism product through strategic information leveraging will be absolutely critical to its success.”
Outlining the many benefits of cruise homeporting as part of the tourism recovery plan, Dr. Dunn said: “Homeporting provides a significant transformative opportunity for Jamaica’s local cruise ship industry, which has perhaps been the hardest hit sub-sector in the tourism industry.”
Dr. Dunn said the Caribbean had an advantage of serving over 40 percent of the global cruise market and “Jamaica has a distinct comparative advantage given its geographical location and close proximity to major tourist markets for cruise ship passengers.”
Mrs. Roberts expressed that there were great benefits to be had and the Ministry of Tourism would be working with cruise lines to foster these arrangements. She outlined a list of requirements and expectations and said Jamaica would be working closely with the cruise lines to have any hurdles removed.
Mrs. Roberts said there was no doubt that Jamaica stood to benefit in a holistic way from cruise homeporting “and we will need all hands on deck.” She also disclosed that plans are afoot for the development of a cruise homeporting policy.
While also agreeing that Jamaica can reap many benefits from homeporting, Mr. Hylton also identified some challenges, key among them being the high cost of airline tickets and the demand for adequate solid waste and recycling facilities.
“Cruise lines are keen on ensuring that they conduct themselves in accordance with global environmental requirements, so we have to ensure that the solid waste management and storage/distribution is done according to international expectations,” advised Mr. Hylton.
Ms. Garcia also pointed to environmental challenges but maintained that Jamaica had what was needed to benefit from the higher multiplier effect of cruise homeporting activities. Mrs. McNab underscored the importance of partnerships as the way forward and the need for sustainability, to ensure that Jamaica not only secures the homeporting business but is in a position to keep it.