Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says Ocho Rios has emerged as the number one port in the country, having contributed forty percent of total visitor arrivals in 2019.
Preliminary data from the Jamaica Tourist Board indicate that Jamaica welcomed approximately 4.3million visitors last year. Of that number, cruise passengers accounted for over 1.5million.
Speaking at the inaugural visit of the Norwegian Bliss today in Ocho Rios, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett said, “Ocho Rios has had a phenomenal growth trend for last year, welcoming 197 calls, which represented a passenger count of over 600 thousand. This is a 40% contribution to our overall visitor arrivals and has made Ocho Rios the number port for calls in the island.”
The additional call of the Norwegian bliss will add over 11,000 visitors to Jamaica’s cruise numbers following its two calls this year.
Jamaica remains one of the most sought after cruise destinations with diverse tourism products and experiences as well as some of the biggest and best ports. Last year, Jamaica was awarded top Caribbean Cruise Destination of the year for 2018 from Caribbean Journal, the world’s largest website covering Caribbean travel and trade news.
“Cruise Tourism forms an integral part in the Ministry of Tourism’s overall growth strategy and I am pleased about the numbers coming out of Ocho Rios. There’s more good news as the projection for Ocho Rios for the first quarter of 2020 is 36 calls that will amount to over 86 thousand visitors” said Minister Bartlett.
Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations, the agency of the Ministry of Tourism responsible for cruise tourism, Joy Roberts, also indicated that more port experiences are being built out to attract more passenger engagement and spend. This is being done through entertainment and food and will be done through multi-port destinations for cruise ships to give each port its own unique theme so passengers will leave satisfied with a variety of experiences.
“The most recent imitative is the offer of a cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) Coffee on arrival at all ports which began with the inaugural visit of the Norwegian Bliss. This gesture will help increase brand awareness and the sale of locally grown premium coffee to international markets,” Minister Bartlett added.