Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says there is currently a demand for 5,000 Jamaican seafarers in the cruise industry.
Speaking on Tuesday (November 20) at the graduation ceremony for the Blue Ocean Servidores pilot program, offered at the Caribbean Maritime University, the Minister said: “I have been told by the cruise lines that Jamaican seafarers are in the highest demand in the cruise business but they have labour market arrangements which need tweaking.
“As I speak to you, there is a demand for 5000 seafarers. Therefore, graduating from the Maritime University, focusing on tourism is a very positive area with immediate demand.”
The Minister also noted that there are plans in place to further develop the marine tourism industry, so that more Jamaicans will benefit from increased earnings from the industry.
“We are just finishing discussions with two of the largest investors in maritime tourism – one to come to Port Royal and the other one in the Montego Bay area. One thing that Jamaica has not yet developed properly is marinas for yachting and maritime tourism – this is a high income and special demographic area of tourism. It is an area where the rich and the famous particularly control.
Jamaica has not been able to dominate but we are looking forward to that. We are also talking to our cruise ship partners in a very strong way for you,” said Minister Bartlett.
The aim of the Blue Ocean Servidores is to equip students with the skills and knowledge required for a smooth transition to the cruise tourism sector as professionals.
Training took place with 10 students over an 8-week period, with classes on: Basic Safety; Ship Security Awareness; Crowd and Crisis Management; Protocol; Business Etiquette; Resume Writing and Managing your IT Footprint. All participants were students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Degree Program in Cruise Shipping and Marine Tourism.
The Minister also took the opportunity to encourage the graduates to consider enrolling in the Ministry of Tourism’s training arm, the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI) for additional certification for management roles in the industry.
“The course that you have done and the degree that you will get after you have completed the four-year period, is a start to qualify you for higher levels of placement in the tourism sector. The JCTI is a pathway institution to certify you for leadership,” said the Minister.
He further emphasized that, “once you have been trained, certified and competent then you are at the vanguard of the prosperity agenda of Jamaica. I encourage you to understand that knowledge is to be used as a tool for engagement and empowerment and to add value. If you are able to so use the knowledge, then prosperity will be yours.”
The JCTI was established to facilitate the development of professionals in the sector who are expected to set high standards as leaders, and raise the industry to the highest level that travelers demand. In April this year, there were more than 150 graduates who gained AHLEI and NVQJ certification. The JCTI also certified more than 300 people in its most recent cohort and is on target to train 8,000 tourism workers over the next five years.