Preliminary data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) indicates that cruise passengers accounted for more than 1.5 million of the approximately 4.3 million tourists visiting the island in 2019.
This was disclosed by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett following last Friday’s (January 10) arrival of one of the Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) flagship vessels – the ‘Norwegian Bliss’ – which made its maiden voyage to Jamaica, docking at the Ocho Rios Port.
The Minister headed dignitaries and officials welcoming the ship’s crew and 5,700 passengers, who each received a complimentary cup of the globally renowned Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.
The visit marked the second time in as many months that a vessel from a major cruise line was making its inaugural voyage to the island, and Ocho Rios in particular.
The resort town welcomed the ‘MSC Meraviglia’, which brought 7,200 passengers and crew in December.
In welcoming the figure for cruise passenger arrivals, Bartlett said this segment of the tourism industry is integral to the Ministry’s overall growth strategy, while highlighting Ocho Rios’ contribution in this regard.
“Ocho Rios has had a phenomenal growth trend for last year, welcoming 197 calls, which represented a passenger count of over 600,000. This has made Ocho Rios the number port for calls in the island,” he outlined, while noting that “there’s more good news” for the town.
“The projection for Ocho Rios, for the first quarter of 2020, is 36 calls that will amount to over 86,000 visitors.”