KINGSTON, Jamaica — Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has announced that Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise line, has committed to sending 110 or more cruises, by its various brands, to the island between October 2021 and April 2022.
The agreement is contingent on Jamaican authorities and Carnival continuing to work closely on logistics and public health issues.
This was announced by Arnold Donald, the CEO of Carnival Corporation, during a meeting on Tuesday with Minister Bartlett, local tourism officials, as well as other senior Carnival Corporation executives.
“Carnival is a critical partner for Jamaica’s tourism and wider economic recovery. We are seeing a welcome return of vessels with the recognition that Jamaica’s Resilient Corridors offer a safe environment for our visitors, tourism workers and the general population,” expressed Bartlett.
The news comes despite slowing global travel demand triggered by the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and associated issues.
The meeting with Carnival forms part of a series of engagements with travel industry professionals in Jamaica’s key source markets, the United States and Canada, including major airlines and investors. This is being done to encourage more people to visit the destination in the coming weeks and months, as well as to encourage further investment in the local tourism industry.
Bartlett was joined by the Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch; Director of Tourism, Donovan White; Senior Strategist in the Tourism Ministry, Delano Seiveright; and Deputy Director of Tourism for the Americas, Donnie Dawson.
The cruise sector was one of the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced it to close for more than a year. However, the sector has progressively resumed operations to several destinations, including Jamaica, thanks to extremely stringent health and safety measures, such as fully vaccinated passengers and staff.
“With the return of stop-over visitor arrivals since June 2020, we have been seeing steady growth towards pre-COVID-19 levels and now that cruise is back, we are looking forward to significant growth in our numbers. All requirements have been put in place to meet both United States and Jamaica’s COVID-19 protocols in addition to passengers being limited to moving within the Resilient Corridors,” Bartlett noted.
“I must underscore that the cruises have to meet strict measures governing the restart of cruise shipping, requiring passengers over the age of 12 and crew to be fully vaccinated and for all passengers to provide evidence of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of sailing. In the case of unvaccinated passengers, such as children, a PCR test is mandated, and all passengers are also screened and tested (antigen) on embarkation,” he stressed.