The resort town of Ocho Rios in St. Ann, continues to attract cruise ships, and today (December 3) it welcomed the MSC Meraviglia with its 7,200 passengers and crew to its port.
A delegation that included Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; and Jamaica Vacations Executive Director, Joy Roberts, greeted the Meravigilia, one of the prime jewels in the MSC Cruise luxury vessels.
“It was something to behold,” said businessman and owner of Garfield’s Diving, Garfield Dussard, who was also a member of the welcome party.
“Life has never been brighter for us here in Ocho Rios, and we are looking forward to many more calls from the MSC Meraviglia,” he said.
Mr. Dussard, who also does business in Falmouth and Montego Bay, said he is very happy with the anti-harassment measures that have been put in place, adding that visitors have been walking the streets without being badgered and harassed.
“The authorities must be commended for putting these measures in place and for also ensuring that they are enforced. It’s really a sight for sore eyes to see tourists walking the streets and going about their business,” he added.
For her part, Ms. Roberts said she is happy with the reports she has been receiving as it relates to Ocho Rios as a destination.
“Ocho Rios will be receiving the most calls of all the cruise ports for the 2019/2020 cruise-ship season. We have had numerous discussions with all our stakeholders, reiterating the need for our visitors to enjoy the destination and to go back with favourable reports. This is what we want to see for the rest of the season,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett said that with 10 calls from the MSC Meraviglia alone, Ocho Rios will be welcoming an additional 50,000 cruise-ship passengers.
“With the additional call of the MSC Meraviglia, which holds 7,200 passengers and crew, Jamaica’s cruise tourism is expected to end the year in a very strong position,” the Minister noted.
“More importantly, this addition will see Ocho Rios welcoming 50,000 cruise-ship passengers with 10 calls from now until April next year. Jamaica’s 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,” he added.
MSC Cruise is the world’s largest privately owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and Southern Africa.
For the period January to October 2019, Ocho Rios saw an 11.9 per cent increase in calls and 2.6 per cent in passenger arrivals, representing a passenger count of 450,000.