Sat | Jan 28, 2023

JUTA president remains hopeful after cruise ship arrival

Published:Saturday | December 3, 2022 | 12:07 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
The cruise ship Sirena docks at the Ken Wright Pier in Port Antonio on Thursday.
The cruise ship Sirena docks at the Ken Wright Pier in Port Antonio on Thursday.

PORT ANTONIO, Portland:

President of the Jamaica Union of Travelers Association (JUTA) Portland chapter, Louiston Gooden, is hopeful that the resort town of Port Antonio will get its fair-share of cruise ship for the upcoming winter tourists season and beyond.

Gooden’s comment came on the heels of a cruise ship visit to the Ken Wright shipping pier on Thursday by cruise vessel Sirena, which docked in Port Antonio shortly after 6 a.m. with 509 passengers onboard, along with approximately 340 crew members.

“This is a good look and it comes shortly after the challenges brought about by Covid-19, which dealt a serious blow to the tourism sector,” said Gooden.

The passengers visited Rio Grande Rafting, Reach Falls, and Portland Highlights, a historic area comprising the Titchfield peninsula and the Folly Great House. Another crew ship is slated for December 25 carrying about 100 passengers.

“We are hoping for the best, especially during the start of the winter tourists season. However, we are a bit uncertain as to what to expect. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that things will continue to improve,” Goodent said.

“For us JUTA members, we try to earn from the community by transporting people to church trips and outing, so that we are able to feed our families. But tourism is our livelihood and we are hoping that things will improve.”

Several craft vendors were also seen at the lawns near the entrance to the Errol Flynn Marina, where the erected tents on the lawns – displaying their wares and other forms of artifacts, while selling items to some of the passengers.

It is the second cruise ship to have made it calls since the start of 2022, and come on the heels of a commitment given by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett recently that Port Antonio is an integral part of the tourism product, which according to him, will see an expected increase in cruise ship arrivals with the reopening of the tourism sector.

gareth.davis@gleanerjm.com