Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has revealed that TUI, the world’s largest tourism company, has added Port Royal in Kingston to its January 2022 cruise schedule.
Bartlett said the company has confirmed the resumption of flights and cruises to Jamaica, with cruise operations scheduled to begin in January.
The company specifically outlined plans for the home port at Montego Bay, St James and the inclusion of stopovers at Port Royal in its cruise program.
The announcement was made recently in Dubai at a meeting involving Bartlett, Director of Tourism, Donovan White and TUI Group Executives David Burling – CEO of Markets and Airlines; and Antonia Bouka – Group Leader Government Relations and Public Policy-Destinations.
“We expect to have five stopovers from January to April 2022 at Port Royal,” Bartlett said.
During discussions with TUI, company executives said their data shows demand for cruises is high and it has been successful in keeping reservations hidden.
The company also shared that the air capacity for this winter season will be 79,000, which is only 9% lower than the pre-COVID winter figures.
Bartlett has sought to assure TUI executives that Jamaica remains a safe destination with very low cases of COVID-19 transmission in resilient corridors, as well as a very strong vaccination campaign for tourism workers.
“Our worker vaccination campaign has been very successful in Jamaica, with many of our workers choosing to be fully vaccinated. We hope that soon we will celebrate the vaccination of 30-40% of Jamaican tourism workers as well as a significant increase in vaccination of the rest of our population by January, ”said Bartlett.
Bartlett noted that he and his team had also had discussions with other key partners in Dubai regarding plans to invest in the Port Royal tourism product.
“I had other important discussions regarding Port Royal which could see a lot more activity happening for the rest of the year. I have just concluded discussions with DP World, which could lead to significant improvements in European traffic to the Caribbean, mainly to Jamaica, with Port Royal being a critical area to consider, ”said Bartlett.
“I am satisfied with our discussions so far here in Dubai and expect Jamaica to see significant investments of these commitments here,” he added.
DP World is a UAE multinational logistics company based in Dubai.
The organization specializes in freight logistics, maritime services, port terminal operations and free zones.
It was formed in 2005 as a result of the merger of the Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International.
DP World manages some 70 million containers which are transported by approximately 70,000 ships each year, which is equivalent to approximately 10% of the global container traffic represented by its 82 marine and inland terminals in more than 40 countries.