Stopover Arrivals on the Increase


Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba has reported that arrival figures remained strong for the first quarter of this year, with stopover arrivals showing an increase of 7.5 per cent.
She also noted that cruise ship arrivals continued to grow, reflecting a 2.5 per cent increase over the corresponding period last year.
Making her Budget presentation in the House of Representatives yesterday (April 21), the Minister said that indicators for the calendar year 2003 showed that stopover arrivals increased by 6.6 per cent to reach a record 1,350,000; cruise passenger arrivals increased by 30.7 per cent to 1,131,000, exceeding the million mark for the first time; and gross foreign exchange earnings estimated at US$1.34 billion, an increase of 10.7 per cent.
Mrs. Assamba pointed out that despite global challenges, such as the Iraqi conflict and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare, tourism in the Caribbean performed relatively well, with Jamaica performing better than most other countries in the region in 2003. The main contributing factors were, increased airlift from the main market areas; the sustained level of advertising and promotional activities in major markets; and the perception of the Caribbean as a “safe” area, she added.
The Minister said that the Port Authority of Jamaica had done Jamaica proud in being recognized in Dream World Cruise Destination magazine’s annual survey of ports and destinations worldwide as “the port that has demonstrated an effective co-operation and partnership with public/private organizations, enabling them to react and find solutions to the demands of the industry and to the many challenges of investing in future growth”.
She pointed out that a strong programme to convert cruise visitors to stopovers was an important area of emphasis in the Jamaica Tourist Board’s development plans, as “we now have to seek to overwhelm these one-day cruise visitors with things to do and see, and provide them with the kind of experience that will entice them to return as stopovers”.
The Minister noted that the sector continued to be a major part of the Jamaican economy and a catalyst for growth in other sectors, generating about 50 per cent of the gross foreign exchange earnings from the productive sector.
Mrs. Assamba said the industry provided direct employment for some 75,000 persons, while another 90,000 were employed through indirect and induced impact. She further said the sector made significant contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to Government’s tax revenue, as well as generated a considerable amount of investment in the country, stimulating economic activities in other sectors through linkage effects.

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