KINGSTON – Three major cruise lines have decided to pull out of the Falmouth pier in the northern parish of Trelawny due to concerns over tourist harassment, among other issues.
According to the Mayor of Falmouth, Colin Gager, the pull-out of the ships- all subsidiaries of Royal Caribbean, will result in losses of approximately J$5-million per month.
He said the ships brought in close to 10 000 visitors each week.
However, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) says several other cruise lines are still committed to the port.
In a statement, the PAJ – that has the responsibility of managing the island’s ports – noted that although the decline in earnings for the destination is noteworthy, it says the summer season generally records an approximately 40 per cent decline in cruise arrivals, compared to the winter season. It says the 2018 summer season will not see a significant variation, when compared to 2016 and 2017.
According to the PAJ, issues of harassment and the vending of illegal products is an issue experienced globally at ports.
However, various measures will be implemented to address the problems. They include the construction of a new dry goods and food produce market, as well as the installation of directional maps across the town. It says an improvement project has also been conducted along Market Street and the Seaboard Street, while Water Square has been adopted and is being maintained.
The PAJ says it has also collaborated with other agencies, including the police and the municipal corporation to reduce harassment and the plying of illegal goods.
Meanwhile, a meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday following the departure of the cruise ships.
Chairman of the National Cruise Council, Michael Belnavis, told Radio Jamaica that the meeting will discuss strategies to tackle tourist harassment.
“The harassment is straightforward. It’s the aggressive nature in which the drivers are soliciting business from the tourists …. We want to ensure that harassment is dealt with.” (CMC)