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The Emergence of Cruise Tourism in the Kingston Harbor: Implications for Local Ocean-based Economies

Authors: Myrna Ellis*, University of the West Indies - Mona
Topics: Tourism Geography, Coastal and Marine, Global Change
Keywords: Cruise tourism, blue economy, fisheries, Caribbean
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In recent times, the concept of the blue economy has emerged as a basis for sustaining ocean-based economies. The success of these economies is highly dependent on the quality of local engagement and participation. In this study, Kingston Harbour (the seventh-largest natural harbour in the world) is used as a learning site to examine the possible implications of establishing new ocean-based economic initiatives for local communities. In the context of this harbor, ocean-based economic activities encompass a vibrant fishing industry, tourism, maritime transport, and waste management. The proposed establishment of a cruise port in the harbour presents multilevel governance co-benefits and trade-offs. The purpose of this paper is to assess: (i) stakeholder understanding of the rationale and their perceptions of the socio-economic viability of the port and (ii) implications for protected area management and local communities. A multilevel research approach involving elite interviews across 11 industries, content analysis from key policy documents and reports (n=66), a fisherfolk survey (n=836) and an institutional capacity assessment of 5 fishing groups around the harbour was conducted. The findings suggest key sociodemographic and capacity-building considerations for the effective establishment of cruise tourism. Additionally, there was a consensus among stakeholders regarding the rationale for the project and that a private-public partnership would be the likely approach in which significant re-tooling of the local community would be necessary. Furthermore, the choice of technology, visitor management strategies, and limitations placed on vessel size suggest that the implications for protected area management were given high priority.

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