Making The Mark
Point of Interest
Feedback Form
Privacy Policy

Making the Mark
Photos by Ashley Anguin - From left: Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, share lens time former Mayor of Falmouth Garth Wilkinson and Member of Parliament Victor Wright.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (right) converses with CEO and president of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Professor Gordon Shirley.
David Dobson (left), of the Ministry of Tourism and Mark Hylton, general manager, the Falmouth cruise ship port. 
A construction worker checks out one of the drawings of what the new Hampden Wharf Development will look like.

'Jamaica's oil' - Dawn of a new era for Falmouth

Camille Miller, Hospitality Jamaica Writer

Noting that Falmouth has the potential to be right up there with the 'New Orleans' and 'Miami Beaches' of the world, the Jamaican Government is going full speed with massive infrastructural work throughout the Trelawny capital.

Coming against the backdrop of Falmouth already having the biggest and most ambiance-friendly port in the Caribbean, ground was broken last Friday for the Hampden Wharf Development - a mega infrastructure project that will certainly reposition the town as one of the Caribbean's premier cruise destinations.

For Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, the potential goes even further.

According to him, the town will not only soon become the "region's tourism Mecca, but Falmouth will also have a central role to play" in the Ministry of Tourism's growth strategy as "we seek to attract five million visitors and generate US$5 billion in tourism earnings by 2021.

"In addition to the Hampden Wharf where all the amenities that make a resort town great will be in place, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and its partners are also in the process of completing another enhancement project in the town - the Falmouth Streetscape Project," Bartlett added.

"This project concentrates on the enrichment of the streetscape by providing improvements consisting of: safe and accessible sidewalks; potential underground services (drainage and sewage services); special paving and surface treatment; overhead lighting (by decorative lamp posts); banner and hanging planter baskets; street furniture, benches and trash bins; way-finding signage; landscaping; improved sidewalks; and traffic management."

The entire project, which Bartlett said was estimated at $279.9 million, also included works to Harbour Lane, Market Street and Falmouth Street. The rehabilitation of Tharpe Street has also commenced and is expected to be completed in the second quarter 2018-19.

Bartlett said that with cruise shipping on the rise and with the Falmouth Port being the biggest in the Caribbean, "we have to put the infrastructure in place" where the town can capitalise.

"Falmouth currently hosts the three largest cruise ships in the world - Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas. How many ports can make this claim?"

"The cruise market is one of the fastest-growing segments in the tourism sector and can make a significant contribution to a destination's economy. However, it is a fiercely competitive sector and proper planning, policies and infrastructure must be in place to take advantage of the booming cruise sector."

Bartlett added that there is no doubt in his mind that Falmouth has the capacity to become the largest distributor of cruise passengers in the Caribbean, projecting that cruise arrivals should reach 1.5 million by 2021.

He further noted that the town should also see earnings of US$180 million or J$2 billion from tourism spending. This, he noted, will entail increasing the average spend by each cruise passenger to US$120, up from the $90 dollars now being spent.

"Because of the potential we see in Falmouth, Jamaica is indeed poised to become the leading cruise ship destination in the region," Bartlett noted.

"Jamaica last year played host to the six largest cruise ships in the world. The Falmouth Pier hosted the largest cruise ships in the world - Harmony of the SeasAllure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, which are all Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) vessels; while Ocho Rios hosted the Norwegian Epic, the Norwegian Pearl and the Carnival Vista."

"This was indeed a rarity for any destination globally," Bartlett added. "Over the next five years, we will significantly boost our capacity to receive luxury cruise lines in the country's major resort towns, including Kingston, with Falmouth leading the way of course."

For his part, Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager said the town is once again poised to reclaim its "economic and social importance" and is positioned to become "Jamaica's oil.

"There cannot be any dispute as to the leading role that Falmouth has played in the past and is now executing at present for the future economic and social prosperity of our nation," he pointed out.

The mayor also pointed to the early-18th-century days when, he said, the town was known to be the economic capital of the Western World, having one of the busiest ports and accommodating up to a total of 30 ships on any given day.

"Falmouth has always played a pivotal role in nation building and is a major catalyst for the stimulation of growth for sustainable development," he noted.

"The economic impact and contribution of this parish is rightly recorded in history, as it was the royal parish when sugar was king, and the wealthiest town and parish during that period. Falmouth boasted in excess of 12 sugar factories and was the leading exporter of sugar, rum and molasses."

He further noted that while there has been a reversal of fortunes where sugar is concerned, the town is again "kicking" with a new form of activity - tourism.

Copyright 2017 The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited. A member of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group. All Rights Reserved
Gleaner Company | Produced by Go Jamaica
Hospitality Jamaica is updated every two (2) weeks
Privacy Policy