It is quite clear that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an impact on the travel industry. Yesterday a cruise ship, the MSC Meraviglia, was turned away from the Jamaican cruise port of Ocho Rios. Subsequently it was denied access by the Cayman Islands. It has, however, been given permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico this evening (Wednesday, February 26). Below is the official statement from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Tourism officials seem to have gone quiet, since Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett said over three weeks ago that Jamaica was just fine, open for business, etc. But if people don’t want to travel then surely tourism must be taking a bit of a hit. Is it really still ‘Jamaica, no problem’?
A friend who flew to Kingston recently said the flight was not full. The non-arrival of a huge cruise ship must have had an economic impact on attractions around Ocho Rios that the passengers are usually transported to – not to mention craft vendors, taxi drivers and others. There has already been a major fallout in tourist arrivals, not only in Asia but also Europe – including France, one of the biggest destination countries in the world, which is experiencing a 30 – 40 percent drop.
Meanwhile, there will be another COVID-19 update tomorrow morning (Thursday, February 27). So we shall see what’s what…
KINGSTON, JAMAICA: February 25, 2020: A cruise line with over 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members was today (Tuesday, February 25, 2020) denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. The vessel arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. and upon inspection by the Port Health Officials, it was discovered that a crew member was placed in isolation on board. The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the COVID-19.