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The Port Authority of Jamaica has welcomed Jamaica being named the World’s Leading Cruise Destination by the World Travel Awards (WTA) as a major achievement, particularly at a time when the global cruise industry is facing severe challenges due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)) pandemic.

The announcement was made during a virtual awards ceremony held on Thursday (November 26).

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Port Authority, Professor Gordon Shirley, noted that the cruise industry has been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

He said that although the cruise-shipping business is very competitive, “Jamaica has the best product and the best team in the region, which is an advantage that supports the consistent high performance of our cruise-shipping product and enables us to deliver a world-class cruise passenger experience, regardless of the circumstances”.

“The Port Authority sustains its dominance as a world-leading cruise-shipping product primarily through continuous investments in port infrastructure development and upgrades,” Professor Shirley noted.

Vice President for Cruise Shipping & Marina Operations at the Port Authority, William Tatham, said that the award is encouraging for the Port Authority, which continues to steadfastly prepare the island’s ports for cruise ships to resume calls.

“This award is a tremendous achievement for Jamaica, considering the current state of affairs, and will serve to positively position Jamaica in the marketplace as the Authority begins to ready its machinery for the reopening of the global cruise sector,” he noted.

“Our award-winning achievements are also a result of our efforts to improve and enhance the towns in which our cruise ports are located. Additionally, our success is underpinned by effective strategic marketing initiatives, which constantly evolve to effectively target our market,” he added.

Mr. Tatham said, further, that the coveted award is a reflection of the strength and quality of Jamaica’s cruise product, which boasts five ports of call, thousands of attractions and an unmatched island experience that all contribute to the island’s world-leading stature.

The cruise brand was significantly enhanced by the opening of a new cruise port in Port Royal at the Historic Naval Dockyard in January.

Mr. Tatham informed that Port Royal welcomed four successful cruise calls and received significant critical acclaim from a number of international cruise-shipping interests.

Port Royal provides a unique mix of heritage and cultural offerings and is the gateway to Kingston, which is considered to be the entertainment and cultural Mecca of the Caribbean. The WTA was established 27 years ago and is committed to raising the standards of the customer experience and business performance and operations throughout the international industry

Written by Peta-Gay Hodges
Photo: Contributed