KINGSTON, April 14 (JIS): Jamaica continues to record increased stopover and cruise ship visitor arrivals, a trend which has carried over from 2014.
Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says preliminary figures for January to April 7 show a 6.4 per cent increase over 2014.
This, he notes, equates to an additional 35,000 visitors for the period which, along with December 2014, constitutes the 2014/15 Winter Tourist Season.
The Minister was making his presentation in the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, today (April 14), under the theme: ‘Tourism Working for Jamaica’.
As it relates to cruise ship visitor arrivals, Dr. McNeill said that already for 2015, “we are up 8.5 per cent” over the corresponding period last year. Additionally, he said Jamaica has recorded increases at “all three main ports,” – Montego Bay, Falmouth and Ocho Rios.
Dr. McNeill said the “encouragingly” strong start for the winter season is underpinned by a “robust” 24 per cent increase in stop over visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, combined with a “healthy” 8.2 per cent increase from the United States of America (USA), which is “our single largest market.”
He said the USA market’s outturn largely results from that economy “doing well,” while experiencing decline in unemployment.
Regarding Jamaica’s other markets, Dr. McNeill noted that challenges are being experienced with Canada, “as their economy has slowed down.”
He pointed out that while Jamaica has enjoyed “phenomenal” growth in arrivals out of that market, “we must realise that some tapering off was expected.”
The Minister noted that the Latin American market also tapered off, particularly over the summer months, “predictably” declining during the course of the FIFA Football World Cup, in Brazil.
“However, we continue to diversify our source markets. Of note, the Scandinavian market is performing spectacularly well. In just two months, January and February of this year, we had over 6,000 arrivals…which is more than we got out of the Russian market at the height of their growth,” he added.
Jamaica welcomed some 3.5 million visitors during the 2014 calendar year, representing a seven per cent increase over the previous year. Of this number, 2.08 million were stopover arrivals, while 1.42 million were cruise arrivals.
“Importantly, for stopover arrivals, our three main source markets – the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom – all saw increases,” Dr. McNeill pointed out, while adding that “we are expecting to finish the 2014/15 Winter (season) with strong growth, overall.”
Dr. McNeill said going forward, despite the fact that a number of the larger properties will be temporarily closed to do major refurbishing, including increasing the room complement, “we anticipate a strong summer.”
Agreement Signed! Next Foghorns and Three Times the Arrivals
#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – When the foghorns blare again at the Grand Turk Cruise Center it will be well into the Christmas season, but the scheduled arrival of the Carnival Freedom on November 28, will end a 20-month pandemic imposed pause on cruising, the economic life-blood, of the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“We have eleven meetings since May to make this happen. I think it’s a huge, huge improvement on what we’ve had before, speaking to the value of the partnership of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival and we look to have a long and fruitful relationship,” said Hon Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government today, finally inked a deal with Carnival Corporation, which appeared hinged on the cruise company being granted the green light for an expansion to berthing at the Port, which opened in 2006 on the island of Grand Turk.
The signing of a new Development Agreement followed an October 7 Cabinet approval of the document; the brief ceremony was carried live on Facebook from the Office of the Premier in Grand Turk.
“Indeed as the Premier has stated, we met 11 times and many times in person, you were in every meeting and sometimes with members of Cabinet, the Attorney General and we worked on something that we will all be proud of for many years to come,” said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development.
Strongly intimated, by Premier Misick, that this expansion had been stalled. Definitely stated, also by Premier Misick, it is full steam ahead for a resumption of cruising.
“We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 21/22. We are not stopping there. Government is investing heavily in the improvement of the Cruise Port and infrastructure in Grand Turk including: Acquisition of a Property to be converted into a Vendors Market. $1.5m dollars has been allocated to refurbish and improve the property. Additional properties will be acquired and developed to accommodate vendors who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood. 2-million dollars will be spent to construct a floating dock for the Water Sports Operators. We are providing up to $1 million in grants to eligible operators to help them prepare for the reopening of the Cruise Industry,” said the Premier during a National Address on September 23.
Three cruises to Grand Turk are booked for November and December 2021 and if all goes according to schedule – or better – the cruise calls on November 28, December 11, December 12 and December 26 will usher in a happier holiday season for the dozens of companies left in limbo with the crash of cruising in March 2020.
“I really want to thank our employees at the Port. We have had employees who stayed here for the last two years working hard to maintain the port,” said Mr. Israel as he acknowledged the enthusiasm shown by the TCI Government to complete the deal; he added, “But I also want to thank the Community of Grand Turk. We are a part of this community; we have been welcomed as a part of this community. The Community has embraced us and we have embraced the Community, the business community and we need to look at this as a partnership,” expressed Mr. Israel during the live stream.
Outside of cruise tourism, Grand Turk draws dive enthusiasts from around the world and is increasingly experiencing popularity in the luxury villa market. Nonetheless, these other distinctions for the island which is home to the Parliament and the Governor’s Residence, fall a distant second and third place to the thousands of cruise visitors travelling on four, five and six day itineraries; Cruising is what really brings the boom.
“We’ve had a long partnership of 20 years and this partnership is just getting better. New horizon, new opportunities and when I look at this magazine, which is a magazine we issued when the port was opened, we expected that the biggest ship would be 1,800 passengers. Within 90 days of today, we are expecting ships that will be able to carry three times the number of passengers…”
The Development Agreement gives Carnival Corporation the permissions and perimeters to begin a $25 million dock expansion project. The Turks and Caicos Cabinet informed that the signatories represented: the Crown, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Turk Cruise Terminal Ltd and Carnival Corporation.
Details of the Agreement were not revealed, therefore the scope of the expansion remains unknown. What has been made clear is upon completion of the new dock, the largest ships in Carnival’s fleet will be able to moor in Grand Turk with the high probability that cruise passenger and crew arrivals to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, will triple.
Carnival elation Dec 11
Carnival Freedom Nov 28, dec 26
Carnival freedom Dec 12
TCI Health Minister pledges Urgency is Serving Mental Health
#TurksandCaicos, October 14, 2021 – Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. Jamell Robinson says the Government will be making increased investment to tackle the issue of mental health.
In his message for World Mental Health Day, observed under the theme “Mental Health In An Unequal World,” he said it was fitting for the focus to be on the way persons who suffer from the disorder are treated.
While noting that finances are not the only factors affecting persons living with chronic illnesses and mental health disorders, he said mental health is a fundamental element to “overall health and livelihood.
“It must be recognised and treated by all Turks and Caicos residents of the, with the same urgency as physical health. We must continue to ensure that mental health remains an important part of our public health mission-we will make certain that the mental health project that was started, is seen to completion. We will ensure that where necessary, increased funding is made available for outreach and support programmes,” the Minister said
He disclosed that a special needs support group for parents, guardians and caregiver will be implement, adding that mental issue is a “longstanding problem” that has been tackled for decades by various professionals, and it must be part of all citizens to lend support and care, where they can.
The Minister stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has “triggered us” to ponder more about individual health and wellbeing and brought to the forefront that while some enjoy the beauties of life, others cannot.
“Not all of us have the same experience while accessing necessary services, such as healthcare, and what resonates most is the difference in health outcomes for different people, sometimes,” he outlined.
TCI Premier and Tourism Minister lead delegation at NABHOOD Summit
#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – The Hon. Premier, Charles Washington Missick and Hon. Josephine Connolly Minister for tourism attended the 8th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show. This summit was held at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel from October 8th to 10th. The theme of this year’s Summit was ‘Gaining Economic Powers Through Multicultural Tourism’. The summit was held by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD)
Both the Hon. Premier and Minister for tourism were key panelist at the summit. The Premier sat with interviewer Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, former Minister of Tourism & Aviation of the Bahamas on a one on one interview entitled A conversation on The Turks and Caicos Islands. This discussion was extremely well received and allowed for the Premier to discuss factors attributing to the success of the Tourism industry in the islands and his vision for the sector.
Hon. Connolly joined a high caliber panel with three other industry experts on Saturday morning. Their discussion centered around Diversity in Tourism and the impact to the Destination. The Minister expanded on where Turks and Caicos’ industry was heading post pandemic, how it performed over the past months and insight into the future of Tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands including the setting up of a Regulatory Authority and a Destination Management Organization.
Among others participating from the Turks and Caicos Islands were students and a chaperone from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College Hospitality Program. The students had the opportunity to network with other US and Caribbean students at the summit.
It is clear that the growth of the Tourism sector in the TCI and the fact that we continue to perform well despite the challenges of COVID 19, is of interest to many. Also of note is the vision articulated by the Premier as he noted; ‘it is imperative that we provide opportunities within the Tourism sector for the growth of investment and local ownership. Turks and Caicos Islanders must benefit directly from the growth of this sector’. The Premier noted that much of his efforts will be to promote investment and ownership by Turks and Caicos Islanders as much as possible.
The Hon. Minister of Tourism stated her pride in representing the country and sector at this summit; ‘This is the first opportunity I have had to present our island on a panel for some time. This year despite COVID 19, we saw arrival numbers that even exceeded pre-COVID 19 during the summer months. I can say that our protocols, our partnerships, our pre-screening program and our COVID 19 marketing strategy all contributed to this success.’
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