Craft traders hope to see more cruise ship passengers
After repeated cries from craft traders at the Ocho Rios Craft Market for cruise ship passengers to be allowed to visit them fell on deaf ears, Tuesday's arrival of the MSC Meraviglia might have signalled a change.
Craft traders told THE STAR that five tourists from the ship visited the market but spent little or nothing. The handful of tourists came after promises were made to the craft traders that they would be included in the tour package with the re-routing of several buses to the market. While the numbers did not meet expectations, the traders were grateful.
"We still thankful," one female craft trader said, adding that she is hoping that the trend continues with the return of the Carnival Sunrise ship on Wednesday.
There was better news emerging from the Olde Market Craft Shoppes, further down on Main Street in Ocho Rios, where the secretary Novelette Llewellyn-Clarke said 25 cruise passengers visited. She said while their spending was extremely low, the visit represents hope for about 30 craft traders who turned out.
Expecting a slow growth
"We got a little bit. They did not spend but we are glad that we saw them; at least we see them," Llewellyn-Clarke said. "They just walked through, some spent a little dollar-dollar but not as expected. We know it's just starting so we're expecting a slow growth. We need some collateral. We are in deep debt and we need some collateral to clear our debts." Violet Kerr was grateful for sales.
"I'm so glad that we can get a little business today, which I could say 'yes I made a couple dollars' and I give thanks and I'm grateful," Kerr told THE STAR. "We're grateful and that's what we're looking for at all times, someone to consider us, because we're all humans and we all need it." Meanwhile, in a release, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said Jamaica is expecting 20 cruise ship calls before year end, and that with the return of stopover visitor arrivals since June, Jamaica has been seeing steady growth towards pre-COVID-19 levels.