News reports in Jamaica indicate that government officials plan an expansion of the successful cruise port in the town of Falmouth. The historic community endures pains from the increasing cruise passenger traffic that followed the 2011 construction of the top cruise ship facility.
One of the oldest buildings in the historic town and top Falmouth attraction, the 200-year-old Saint Peter’s Church, closed in June due to tensions between members of the church and vendors who sell souvenirs to vacationers visiting the church. The tensions have eased since summer months, but Anglican Church officials soon told Jamaica Observer they were receptive to “steadily swelling” collection of vendors operating in the designated for parking church area.
Plans for regulating the vending operations include a licensing system, according to church officials. The situation is a result of the impact of over 700,000 cruise ship passengers that visit Falmouth annually as vendors started setting up displays soon after the opening of the cruise pier in 2011.
The historic town, founded in 1769 by Thomas Reid as the center for then-flourishing sugar industry of England, has proven popular with lots of cruise passengers. Falmouth boasts several historic buildings and provides guests with a look at the authentic Jamaican community, contrasting the resort-oriented Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
Gordon Shirley, president and CEO of Jamaica Port Authority, announced earlier this year that plans were being finalized for Falmouth pier expansion. The original pier was built through a US$220 million joint venture by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and PAJ. According to Shirley, Royal Caribbean was again involved in expansion talks, with line’s officials saying the existing two piers “won’t cut it" and not responding to requests for comment.