According to the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Dr Wykeham McNeill, 2014 was Jamaica’s best year ever for cruise shipping as the island welcomed 1.4 million cruise ship visitors, a 12.5% increase over 2013.“Already this year we are up 8.5% and again we have had increases in all three ports,” said Minister McNeill. “This year for the first time we have a record breaking three cruise ships home porting in Montego Bay – the Louis Cristal, Thomson Dream and AIDA Bella – with all the concomitant goods and services required to tender these vessels,” the Tourism Minister added. Next year Jamaica will welcome a fourth cruise ship to its shores for home porting.“In Ocho Rios, we have completed phases one and two of the JD400 million resort upgrading project. This year we will commence phases three and four of the project, which will see the total reconstruction of the promenade as well as work on the Ocho Rios Main Street, including areas that are to be pedestrianised,” said Minister McNeill.In addition to upgrades to the Elegant Corridor, Minister McNeill also announced a new transformational project to put the ‘hip’ back in the second city’s Hip Strip. Over the last few months, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has held a series of consultations with stakeholders and community leaders from the public and private sectors.