Letter of the Day | Make Sav-la-Mar next cruise ship port
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world's largest cruise industry trade association, released its State of the Cruise Industry outlook for 2018 and beyond. The report offers an in-depth look at the continued positive trajectory of the cruise industry and its global economic impact.
Eleven new ocean cruise ships are currently on order, and will all debut in 2018. These include some lines quite familiar with Jamaica, like Carnival, Celebrity, Holland, America Line, MSC Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International.
There are 449 cruise line ships under the membership of the CLIA. Of the current 27.2 million global cruise ship travellers, the Caribbean region gets 35.4 per cent. Jamaica doesn't get two million cruise passenger arrivals, in spite of the tremendous recent showing.
Eighty per cent of CLIA-certified travel agents state that they are expecting increased cruise sales for 2018.
In 2016, the cruise industry saw 24.7 million passengers, with 1,021,682 full-time employees earning US$41.1 billion in wages and salaries, contributing US$126 billion in total output worldwide.
My point is that the Caribbean cruise industry has a strong demand and an excellent growth trajectory .
We in Jamaica now regularly see two cruise ships moored in the Montego Bay, Falmouth and Ocho Rios, and not just on Wednesdays. This strongly suggests that Jamaica has the capacity to expand our cruise pier berthing options.
I humbly put forward that Jamaica's next cruise port be constructed in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland. Why?
Within one hour of getting off the cruise ship, you have Floyd's Pelican Bar, the Black River Boat Safari, YS Falls, Appleton Estate Rum Tour, Mayfield Falls, Roaring River, Sweet River, Calico Jack Bar at the Half Moon Beach, the tourist town of Negril and the world-renowned seven-mile strip of beach, the Cabarita River, just to mention a few attractions.
Nowhere in Jamaica could compete with a cruise port in Sav.
Jamaica would have a functioning port to export agricultural products and processed products. This increased economic activity could easily lead to the mega development of a dry dock facility using Petrojam's Font Hill property (currently sitting idle).
Sav-la-Mar has a natural deep-harbour port, where, as a child, I watched large ships dock and being loaded with sugar from the Frome factory.
China Harbour Engineering Company is already here in Jamaica building everything, except a harbour. The Chinese Ex-Im Bank has money to lend at low interest for just these types of development.
The Florida Caribbean Cruise Shipping Association has 18 members.
We could invite tenders from it as capital development investors. The Jamaica diaspora and locals could also be invited to invest.
The truth is that we need to offer jobs and hope to our tens of thousands of unattached youth out west and across Jamaica.
This project would reshape the economic fortunes of Westmoreland, Hanover and St Elizabeth.