Jamaica to spend US$14 million to upgrade port facilities in Ocho Rios
By Garwin Davis
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — In anticipation of larger cruise vessels coming to Jamaica, US$14 million has been allocated to improve port facilities in Ocho Rios, says minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett.
Bartlett said that two mega liners, one from Carnival and the other from Norwegian Cruise Line, are slated to call on Jamaica in November of this year and the facilities must be ready in time for them to be accommodated.
“The money of course will be coming from both the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF),” the minister pointed out.
Meanwhile, the minister said there will be a renewed focus on developing marquee attractions, which would propel Jamaica to the top of the destination chain and giving it top flight status.
Bartlett said he was very encouraged by the recent visit of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) delegation and their acknowledgement that guests are now more inclined to get off the ships when they are in port.
“We have stepped up our anti-harassment drive and also our tourism product has improved tremendously over time,” Bartlett said.
For her part, FCCA president, Michelle Paige, told journalists at a press briefing in Montego Bay that there is really no magic wand in getting the passengers to come off the ships to enjoy the Jamaican experience.
“We just have to continue sensitizing the people that the more comfortable the visitors feel are the more inclined they will want to be to get off the ships to interact. Most of the people, from what we see, are coming off but we also want those who have not been, to come off and enjoy all the wonderful things that Jamaica has to offer,” she said.