#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
US Milestone Celebrated
#Jamaica, June 30, 2022 – This year marks the United States of America’s (USA) 246th anniversary of Independence, and the milestone was celebrated with a reception on June 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. The event also featured the traditional United States Marine Corps Colour Guard ceremony.
“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join in commemorating this milestone with our American friends and partners. Today we celebrate a nation that continues to give practical meaning to the declaration of Independence and the vision of the founding fathers for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets have been central to the growth and development of the Union since 1776 and its transformation as a global leader,” he said.
For his part, US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, said the countries’ partnership has been rewarding, and expressed the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening the cooperation between the nations.
“On behalf of the United States Mission to Jamaica, thank you for joining us as we celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. As we celebrate America’s independence, we also celebrate 60 years of partnership between our two countries. Together we have promoted democracy, human rights, and shared security concerns,” he said.
Jamaica established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1962, following its independence from the United Kingdom.
The partnership focuses on reducing corruption; increasing transparency and good governance; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security efforts; strengthening basic education; and increasing energy resiliency.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has provided more than US$16.4 million as well as donations of vaccines to assist Jamaica’s containment measures.
Additionally, over the last 12 months, the United States has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to issue a record number of H2 visas, bringing critical, temporary labour to the US, while providing jobs for thousands of Jamaicans that resulted in millions of dollars in remittances.
Significantly, the Peace Corps, which is also celebrating 60 years of partnership with Jamaica this year, will resume its operations on the island beginning September, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism
June, 30, 2022 – The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, says tourism in the Caribbean is recovering faster than expected.
While presenting at the CHTA ‘Caribbean Tourism Fireworks’, she said the Caribbean travel and tourism sector experienced the second-fastest recovery of all regions in 2021. Travel and Tourism have contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 36.6 per cent. She added that they have recovered over 311,000 jobs.
“That is really a testament to how fast Caribbean tourism has been able to come back into play,” said Madden-Greig.
January and February were not as successful because of the uprising of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Travel heightened between March and June, and Madden-Greig reported that summer looks promising and that they “expect that winter 2022-2023 will also be strong”.
“For the June to August period, [the Caribbean is] ahead of our 2019 airline arrivals in terms of what is forecast and on the books by upwards of two per cent,” she said.
The CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks is what the trade association uses to communicate regional tourism performance and outlook survey results. In addition to the performance reports, other topics were discussed including the recognition of Caribbean tourism’s resilience; that investments by the tourism industry in capital improvements, health safety and product value are underpinning the region’s tourism recovery; and that labour shortages present immediate and long-term opportunities.
CHTA urged employers, governments, education and training institutions to recruit new employees and prepare communities for careers, employment and ownership opportunities within the sector.
Also present at the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Firework were CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, Vanessa Ledesma, Jamaican hotelier Clifton Reader, and the chair of CHTA’s Advocacy Committee.
While the speakers agreed that intra-Caribbean travel has great opportunities, they share that there are connectivity issues and issues with preserving, protecting and enhancing the region’s natural resources.
Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations
Communications Executive Rejoins Brand After Tenure at Distinguished Jamaican Law Firm
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, June 15, 2022 – Sandals Resorts International recently announced the appointment of Rachel McLarty to Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations, overseeing the company’s corporate communication efforts and public relations initiatives for the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands throughout the Caribbean. Reporting to Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and CEO Gebhard Rainer, McLarty returns to the organization after a ten-year hiatus where she previously held the position of Group Director of Corporate Relations.
“We are in a moment of tremendous momentum and require a skilled, expert hand to navigate through what will be an upcoming decade of unprecedented growth for the organization,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of SRI. “Rachel McLarty is that voice in the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the company as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and plan for the next forty.”
McLarty, who will be based in the Kingston headquarters of Sandals Resorts International, will lead a talented team of public relations and communication professionals in Jamaica and throughout the entire Caribbean region. During her first tenure with SRI, McLarty served as Group Director of Corporate Relations for the organization for a period of five years, beginning in 2006. Prior to rejoining the company, she served as an attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, one of the largest law firms in Jamaica. She is deeply committed to improving and developing Caribbean communities, currently sitting as Chairman of the Board for St. Andrew High School for Girls and the SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica.
“Sandals Resorts International remains the brand standard for Caribbean organizations, and it is an honour to rejoin the company at such a prolific time,” said McLarty. “And while I have certainly followed the tremendous success of the brands in the last decade, I have remained even more impressed by the organization’s continued commitment to the Caribbean, the region we all call home. I look forward to the incredible work to be done.”
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