Companies Explore Weeklong Jamaica only Cruises
#MontegoBay, April 15, 2022 – Weeklong Jamaica-only cruises could soon be a reality as cruise lines seek to explore more cost-effective ways to stay afloat during a still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The move, which Ministry of Tourism officials have been championing for some time, would see a cruise line creating an itinerary where it would take them to all the Jamaican ports of call over a five-to-seven-day period.
Leading the charge is Marella Cruises, whose newest flagship fleet, Marella Explorer 2, is currently homeporting in Jamaica’s tourism capital, Montego Bay.
“It makes a lot of sense where we could do a Jamaica-only itinerary, where we could come into Montego Bay then move on to Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Port Royal and Port Antonio [not necessarily in that order],” said Marella Explorer 2’s Captain, Kostas Lampropoulous, during a tour of his mega liner by local tourism officials on April 12.
“When we are talking about fuel, water… it’s a lot more [cost effective] to do so and is something that we are looking at. We have a great relationship with Jamaica… . We enjoy coming to Jamaica, and we see Jamaica as an important partner,” he added.
Captain Lampropoulous noted that the Marella Explorer 2, which leaves the island today (April 13), will be back on April 19 before taking a hiatus until November.
He said that the plan is to also increase homeporting activities on the island, making Jamaica a first-call and first-choice destination for Marella Cruises.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Joy Roberts, told JIS News that the Tourism Ministry has been lobbying all the major cruise lines regarding the possibility of creating Jamaica-only itineraries, considering that the island is the only Caribbean destination with so many ports of call.
She said the revelation by Marella Cruises that it was exploring such a possibility was proof that “we have been doing something right” and is great news for the future of the cruise sector.
“There is also the value-added advantage of homeporting which is what Marella Cruises have been doing here in Montego Bay,” she noted.
“Montego Bay, with the Sangster International Airport a main and convenient draw, is ideal to have ships for overnight stay and where they could move on to other Jamaican ports. This has been a dream of ours and our Hon. Minister, Edmund Bartlett,” Ms. Roberts said.
Homeporting is when a ship uses a port/marine terminal as its home, regardless of its port of registry. This allows passengers to begin/terminate a cruise in the home port and positively impacts ground transportation and tours. Passengers may also fly into the island to board vessels.
Among the benefits of home-porting is the creation of jobs for locals, as support services are provided for the vessels such as fuel, water, food and merchandise. Ground transport and small business operators will also profit as passengers disembark and go on tours and shop.
On March 14, the Marella Explorer 2 resumed home-porting in Montego Bay. It visited Port Royal and will be back on a weekly cycle until April 19.
Between August 2021 and March 16, 2022, Jamaica’s ports received 104 calls comprising 141,265 passengers and 108,057 crew.
“Our goal is to bring three million cruise visitors to Jamaica by 2025. We have established the infrastructure, and we will continue to engage the marketplace to accomplish this critical objective. To do this, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC) will intensify marketing efforts to position Jamaica as the destination of choice for cruise travellers from markets such as the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East,” Mr. Bartlett told JIS News on April 12.
“The cruise industry is critical because it provides employment for a significant number of our small and medium-sized tourism enterprises. Once the ship docks, the dollars begin to flow into the hands of the average citizen, and that, in my opinion, is the strength of cruise tourism. It does, I feel, provide the quickest means of wealth transfer due to the very straightforward jobs required. It has an immediate economic impact on ordinary people’s lives, which is critical to the survival of small towns,” he said.
CONTACT: Garwin Davis
Branch out and Tap in to greater Financial Opportunities says Robert Hall
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 24, 2023 – Teachers in The Turks and Caicos need to be allowed to market their skills to the private sector, broadening their earning potential and likely enhancing their tenure as teachers, also attached to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.
Robert Hall, a former Minister of Education made the edgy suggestion at an Education Week Symposium which was carried live on the TCIG’s Facebook page.
“For instance, a good music teacher, rather than simply training voices why not get into the entertainment field?”
Home Economics teachers and Technical Drawing teachers and similarly talented individuals should break into the industry and tap into the Turks and Caicos’ multi-million-dollar clientele.
“Why not offer the service and you can do that at a cheaper rate. In each case whether it is the Home Ec teacher, the TD teacher or woodworking teacher; pull some of your students along with you into those areas,” he urged.
The presence of local job experience programs aside, what Hall is suggesting, should it be carried out, could put local teachers and students in the direct path of mega successful hoteliers, architects, artistes and more. Some of the most successful people in the world frequent the Turks and Caicos and there have been several occasions where residents have their talents recognized and honed by investors.
It is well known that the late Prince, a multi-award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, gave unique opportunities to Quinton Dean in music and Frank Forbes in culinary arts; one touring with him and the other his personal chef. Forbes was also a personal chef to music and movie star, Tyrese. More recently, recording artist Jenardo Laporte was handed a whopping $20,000 by global music mogul, Drake, when he demonstrated undeniable talent.
Robert Hall is a firm believer. He says that through branching out, educators would be able to seriously help themselves financially.
Illegal immigration, still a real threat in TCI
Tenders Published for Credit Union, South Caicos Port, K-9 Unit and Public Sector Pay Raise
By Dana Malcolm
#TurkandCaicos, March 24, 2023 – Contracts are now up for grabs as some long-awaited projects are poised to get started with funding allotted, and projects in need of companies to execute them; they include, the investigation into another pay increase for public servants, the new credit union, and development in South Caicos.
A suite of tender documents was officially published earlier this year for upgrades including the South Caicos Port Dredging Project.
The South Caicos Channel has not been properly maintained since it was initially constructed. The project aims to restore navigability to the port and increase the vessel, and barge sizes (tonnage capacity) with access to the port according to the government’s tender.
The TCIG says this is to reduce the costs of imports as the fully loaded barges reduce costs of goods and materials to residents, local businesses, and existing and future commercial development interests at South Caicos.
The Office of the Deputy Governor has also opened a tender to reassess payment for all public servants.
A consultant is being sought to do a grading review for the entire sector of which the Deputy Governor is in charge. The Government introduced a pay increase of 10 percent for public servants last year. However, most of that was not cash in hand as it went to a new retirement fund.
The tender follows the increase of the minimum wage in February, to 8 dollars an hour.
Next up is the new National Credit Union which the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade is hoping a consultant will step up to establish. The Credit Union is aimed at expanding financing options for residents beyond commercial lenders.
Customised vehicles are also being brought in for a brand-new K-9 unit at the Department of Customs. Late last year, K-9 Units were used at the nation’s ports and were successful in detecting and thwarting efforts to smuggle illicit drugs into the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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