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Jamaica’s Cruise ship performance – Not Debatable

KINGSTON, Jamaica – State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism, Entertainment & Culture, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill this afternoon moved to clarify a misstatement by Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party, Dr. Ken Baugh during last evening’s national political debate.

During the televised debate, Dr. Baugh stated that recently a cruise ship called on a port in Jamaica carrying 5,000 passengers, and that not one of the passengers disembarked. He attributed this to safety concerns raised by the cruise operator, who allegedly advised the passengers that they would ‘disembark at their own risk’.

In seeking to correct the statement, Dr. McNeill said, “I am dismayed that Dr. Baugh did not check his facts rigorously before delivering them in such an important national debate. Whereas occasionally we have cruise ships of up to 4,400 passengers on board, including crew, the Ports Authority of Jamaica has verified that there is no ship currently calling on any port in Jamaica which carries 5,000 guests.

The PAJ which manages this aspect of the tourist industry also confirmed today that there is absolutely no report of any ship calling on any Jamaican port and failing to disembark any passengers. On the contrary, the records indicate that in excess of 80% of passengers routinely disembark from all vessels calling on Jamaican ports. Consistently we have in excess of 50% of passengers disembarking for pre-booked tours, while 30% freelance across attractions and tours.”

Dr. McNeill also noted that the demand for Jamaica as a destination continues to grow rapidly after last year’s record-breaking year which saw the destination copping the top award at the World Travel Awards last September. “In fact, we are now in the advanced planning stages of ensuring that more ports open up to be able to satisfy the bullish demand for cruise ship visitors”, he concluded.

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