By Horace Hines
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is reportedly interested in hiring more Jamaicans as the company, regarded as the world's second-largest cruise operator, continues to grow.
Royal Caribbean's President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein reportedly made the disclosure in a discussion with Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett last Friday at the cruise line's headquarters in Miami, Florida.
According to Bartlett, Goldstein said that Jamaicans represent the “very essence of Royal Caribbean's service for flair, friendliness and engagement”.
The company currently employs 66,000 workers.
Bartlett met with Goldstein and the cruise line's vice-president for Government Relations in the Americas, Russell Benford, to discuss a range of industry-related matters.
Bartlett reportedly told Goldstein that Jamaica's tourism and labour ministries will work together to ensure that the cruise line's desire to employ more Jamaicans will be realised in the shortest possible time.
The minister also updated the Royal Caribbean team on the development of a Global Tourism Resilience Centre in Jamaica, as well as the proposed Caribbean Recovery Plan.
The centre, which is set to be established at The University of the West Indies, Mona, will be tasked with creating toolkits, guidelines and policies to handle the recovery process from the minute a crisis takes place. It will also include the development of a Sustainable Tourism Observatory, which will assist in preparedness, management and recovery of crises which impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihood.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd owns three cruise lines — Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises.
The company also holds a 50 per cent stake in TUI Cruises and 49 per cent stakes in Pullmantur Cruises and its subsidiary CDF Croisières de France which caters to the French cruise market.
Cruise travel is expected to rise to 27.2 million passengers in 2018, according to Cruise Lines International Association, an industry trade body. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean's net yields, a closely watched measure of how well cruise lines are doing, showed growth in 2017 that Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty called “the best in more than a decade”, increasing by 6.4 per cent.
Bartlett, who was joined by Senior Advisor/Strategist Delano Seiveright and head of cruise at the Jamaica Vacations Ltd Francine Haughton, is scheduled to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with executive director of the Tourism Product Development Company, Dr Andrew Spencer to attend Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the largest tourism marketing event in the Caribbean.