ST ANN, Jamaica — Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says Ocho Rios is gearing up to welcome 50,000 cruise ship passengers courtesy of the cruise line, MSC Meraviglia. The ministry noted that MSC Cruise entered the cruise business in 1988 and is now the worldâs largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and Southern Africa.
Speaking at the welcome reception for the shipâs inaugural visit to Ocho Rios yesterday, Bartlett said that “with the additional call of the MSC Meraviglia, which holds 7200 passengers and crew, Jamaicaâs cruise tourism is expected to end the year in a very strong position.”
“More importantly, this addition will see Ocho Rios welcoming 50,000 cruise ship passengers with 10 calls from now until April next year,” the minister added.
The ministry said the Meraviglia, which is a sophisticated combination of state-of-the-art technology, design, comfort and practicality, joins Seaside, Divina and Armonia which have been visiting Ocho Rios and Falmouth.
“Jamaicaâs cruise tourism will see a boost in arrivals and earnings in the next couple of years with more calls to all ports and the inclusion of Port Royal to the itinerary. Within the context of reimagining the islandâs tourism, we are now looking at cruise tourism specifically as to how we can build out more infrastructure and experiences to attract more visitors and retain more of the cruise dollar,” Bartlett said.
Ocho Rios was just awarded the Caribbeanâs leading cruise port at the World Travel Awards in Oman and recently won the Hospitality award for the best resort town, the ministry said.
The ministry said Ocho Rios has also seen an 11.9 per cent increase in calls and 2.6 per cent in passenger arrivals, representing a passenger count of 450,000 for the period January to October 2019.
The ministry added that Ocho Rios is expected to see a 4 per cent increase in passenger arrivals by the end of the year, making it the number one port for visitors and calls in the island.
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