MEXICO – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and Director General in the Ministry, Carrole Guntley left the island this morning to participate in the 14th Annual Caribbean Cruise Conference & Trade Show, under the auspices of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Shipping Association FCCA.
The conference which started with a social program on Monday night, in the Mexican resort island of Cozumel will run until this Friday, October 12.
From his first day in office, Minister Bartlett has expressed very strong sentiments about this sub-sector of his portfolio industry. “Last year Jamaica topped the world ad the number one cruise shipping destination, according to the World Travel Awards, but our numbers have been faltering this year, and I am determined to lead my team to secure not just a turnaround in the short term, but also to outstrip previous showings.”
In his maiden address to the National Council of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association last week, Minister Bartlett outlined his plans for Cruise Shipping Jamaica, which included strong marketing and product development support. “Right now the per capital earning from cruise ship passengers is a mere US$83, and I am convinced this can double in the medium term”, he said. “We have set ourselves the modest target of advancing to US$ 150 per visitor by the end of 2010. This could move even higher given our programme of incentives in the making to ensure that we have a more diverse range of high impact attractions close to our three international ports of call for cruises – Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio” Mr. Bartlett also identified shopping as an attraction which will get his personal attention within the next couple of weeks.
Capital city Kingston has not escaped the attention of the Minister as in a recent address at the launch of Kingston Restaurant Week, he proposed that home porting of international vessels will be one lead strategy employed to get the ships docking again in the world’s 7 th largest natural harbour.
The Minister has already held couple of meeting with local and regional cruise shipping interests in pursuit of his stated policy position. During his first week in office he met Ports Authority Head Noel Hylton for detailed private discussions on the way forward. That weekend he met with FCCA head in Florida to discuss Jamaica’s future with the lines which are affiliated with this organization.
Billed as the premier industry event of the year, the FCCA conference in Cozumel has attracted well over 1000 cruise industry partners along with approximately 100 Cruise Executives from the FCCA member lines to meet with key players, analyze industry trends and discuss current issues.
According to the organizers, Executives from the FCCA Member Lines will bring their expertise to a series of round table discussions that will focus on Marketing, Shore Excursions and Operations.
The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 11 member cruise lines operating more than 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Mexican waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on legislation, tourism development, ports, safety, security and other cruise industry issues.
By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA seeks to build cooperative relationships with its partner destinations and to develop productive bilateral partnerships with every sector. The FCCA works with governments, ports and all private/public sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, cruise line and cruise line employee spending, as well as enhancing the destination experience and the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.