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Jamaica's Tourism Minister announces Cruise Jamaica initiative

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism the Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook announced at Seatrade Cruise Global a new ambitious Cruise Jamaica initiative. The announcement established the goal of increasing cruise ship calls and new developments at the country’s cruise ports, hotels and attractions and falls directly in line with the Minister’s five pillars of Jamaica’s tourism development.

Specifically, the Minister shared Jamaica’s goal of reaching 5 million passengers by 2020, earning $5 billion in direct earnings and employing 125,000 Jamaicans. The island currently receives approximately seven percent of the Caribbean’s cruise arrivals, with a goal of reaching 10 percent. These figures translate to 1.6 million cruise passengers as of 2016 and Jamaica is projecting to achieve 2 million cruise passengers by the end of 2017. In 2016 the destination saw 518 port calls.

“The cruise industry has already demonstrated its confidence in our wonderful island, as evidenced by our recent hosting of a record six ships simultaneously,” said Minister Bartlett. “With the Cruise Jamaica Initiative we are setting forth a vision that will improve and impact our country for decades to come and expose more of the world to the captivating culture, people and traditions of Jamaica.”

The Minister and Director explained that their vision to achieving these tourism gains are linked to the island’s continued commitment to developing new port opportunities in addition to its current port locations, building deeper relationships with cruise lines and expanding regional port itineraries through collaborations with other Caribbean destinations. Plans to increase Jamaica’s cruise shipping capacity are already underway across the five cruise port terminals through projects which include port expansion, redesign and dredging and providing improved access to port towns, shopping, sightseeing and arts and culture. Specifically highlighted were intentions to develop Kingston into a major cruise destination and port as well as expanding Port Antonio to receive increased calls from boutique ships.

Jamaica is home to five vibrant and bustling cruise ports including Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Kingston and Port Antonio. Highlights of port developments can be found below:

Port of Montego Bay: Montego Bay recently increased cruise ship berthing capacity and added new cruise terminal buildings. The port also increased ground transportation opportunities for disembarking cruise passengers.

Kingston Port: Kingston Port plans to increase cruise ship and passenger capacity. Improvements will include deep dredging to accommodate for larger ships.

Port of Ocho Rios: Enhancing the visitor experience is central to upgrades that will take place at the Ocho Rios port. This will include Artisan Villages to increase cultural integrations in the port experience.

Port of Falmouth: The Port of Falmouth opened in 2011 as Jamaica’s first custom built port. The port features a courtyard for shopping, dining and entertainment and is located in a Georgian town with historic areas ideal for visitor exploration and is highly rated on Trip Advisor.

Port Antonio: Port Antonio is ideal for smaller luxury cruise lines and yachts. A master plan is in development for the port and the surrounding area.

Beyond physical capabilities, Jamaica has announced their commitment to building upon cruise consumer’s destination assurances through increased and diversified hospitality training, which would yield stronger human capital. The cruise ports of Jamaica are also increasing security measures and the cultural reception of cruisers upon arrival. These cultural aspects not only demonstrate a rising trend in the world’s leading cruise ports, they also present economic opportunities for local artists, transportation workers and the island’s nearly 150 distinct attractions.

Genting Hong Kong appoints Colin Au as group President and Kent Zhu as President of Genting Cruise Lines

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Genting Hong Kong Limited has appointed Colin Au as the group President of the company with immediate effect and Kent Zhu as President of Genting Cruise Lines, effective May this year. Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (Tan Sri Lim), Chairman of the Board, continues to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.

Colin Au joined the Genting Group 38 years ago and served in different positions within the Group in Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Miami and Germany. Au was the founding President and CEO of Genting Hong Kong in 1993, and introduced cruising in Asia. Au graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Birmingham, U.K. in 1972 and a MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1974.

“With the quantum leap in size of the company, we are pleased to appoint Mr. Au as the Group President of Genting Hong Kong to provide the leadership moving forward. He will focus his attention on Genting Cruise Lines, MV Werften, the German shipyard group and other assets of the company,” says Tan Sri Lim.

Genting Cruise Lines is a new division of Genting Hong Kong comprising of three cruise brands, Star Cruises – “The Most Popular Cruise Line in Asia”, Dream Cruises – “Asia’s Luxury Cruise Line” and Crystal Cruises “The World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line”. Genting Cruise Lines will leverage on the 50-year old “Genting” name, which is well recognized in China and other parts of Asia, and recently strengthened by the International exposure of “Genting Resorts Secret Garden in Chongli, Hebei Province near Beijing, which is the main venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“I look forward to providing leadership in this phase of rapid asset growth and overseeing MV Werften, which will provide the company with the competitive edge in building new large cruise ships, with the first 200,000 gross ton Global Class ships by 2020, without relying on the limited number of European cruise shipyards which currently have a 10-year order-book, a historic high,” says Colin Au.

Kent Zhu was born in Jiangsu, China and has over 30 years of international hospitality experience with two global Asian luxury hotel groups, Shangri-La International Management and Wanda Hotels and Resorts, each of which have about a hundred properties and over 30,000 hotel rooms. Zhu will be leaving his Executive Vice President position with Wanda Hotels & Resorts to join the Company as the President of Genting Cruise Lines, based in Hong Kong. Zhu has 18 years’ experience with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts with his last position as their Chief Marketing Officer, based in their global headquarters in Hong Kong. Mr. Zhu graduated from the Beijing No. 2 Foreign Language Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985.

“We are delighted to have Kent Zhu join us as the President of Genting Cruise Lines. With his experience in China, Kent will immediately focus on developing a nation-wide distribution network in China with strong travel partners to fill our cruise ships in Asia and elsewhere,” says Hui Lim, Executive Director of Genting Group.

“With my experience in two very successful international luxury hotel companies originating from Asia, I want to add value to the competitiveness and long term growth of Genting Cruise Lines, which has the largest number of available cabin capacity in Asia. I will like to strengthen the relationship with our industry partners, develop a clear distribution strategy and infrastructure and align the brand standards to the changing trends of our customer profile to deliver a unique and memorable customer experience,” says Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines.

SunStone and China Merchants group in four plus six optional expedition ship deal

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

SunStone Ships, Inc, the Florida based passenger vessel tonnage provider, and China Merchants Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. (CMIH) have signed a framework agreement for the construction of four expedition cruise vessels, with an option for further six, SunStone said in a statement.

Ulstein Design & Solutions, which is part of the Norwegian shipbuilding group Ulstein, will provide design and equipment package to the ships as a client of CMIH. Makinen, the Finnish contractor in the cabin and public space sphere, will establish a cabin assembly plant and interior workshop at the shipyard. It will also be responsible for all interior spaces on the vessels.

The ships will have between 85 and 90 passenger cabins and they will be 104 metres in length and have a beam of 18.2 metres, while their draft will be 5.1 metres. The vessels will feature X-bow, a design that Ulstein has patented and which offers superior seakeeping qualities compared to traditional bow designs.

They will have a speed of 15 knots and Finnish/Swedish ice class 1 A, corresponding Polar Code ice class PC6. They will be built to Bureau Veritas class and fly the Bahamian flag, SunStone said.

European cruise market grew by 3.4% in 2016 - CLIA Europe

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The number of Europeans who booked a cruise in 2016 amounted to 6.67 million, an increase of 3.4% on the previous year, figures released by CLIA Europe show.

The German market expanded by 11.3% and reached 2.0 million passengers, while in the UK, the growth rate was 5.6% and the passenger count 1.89 million.

In Spain, the growth was 4.2%, but CLIA Europe did not provide the number of passengers from the country.

UK ocean cruise market seen hitting two million mark 2017, UK ports likely to exceed one million boardings

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The UK and Ireland ocean cruise market is likely to hit the two million mark this year, one year after Germany reached the milestone, while the number of passengers embarking on their cruise at a UK port is likely to exceed the one million mark for the first time, CLIA UK & Ireland said in a statement.

In 2016, UK ports accounted for 912,000 of the 1.89 million total cruise passenger count. Their share of the total increased by 1.3 percentage points to 48.3%, while the share of fly cruises decreased to 51.7% a decrease of 1.3 percentage points, with 976,000 passengers.

Cruises accounted for 4.2% of all UK foreign holidays, the figure remained stable for the third year in a row, but it is nevertheless double the level of 2001, CLIA UK & Ireland said.