- Preliminary figures up to August are showing a 3.3 per cent growth over last year.
- The month of July saw a record 221,000 stopover arrivals, the largest that the country has ever seen in a single month.
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The tourism sector has registered a 2.4 per cent growth in stopover arrivals for the first half of the year (January to July) when compared to the same period in 2013.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, in making this announcement at a JIS Think Tank on Thursday, September 4, said preliminary figures up to August are showing a 3.3 per cent growth over last year.
Of significant note, he said, is that the month of July saw a record 221,000 stopover arrivals, the largest that the country has ever seen in a single month.
He informed that there has been growth from all markets with significant increase in arrivals from the United Kingdom (UK).
“Up to 2012, we had four consecutive years of negative growth coming out of the UK…each year we would have had less arrivals than the previous year. Last year, we saw a 4.7 per cent increase and this year, up to the end of July, the arrivals are up 14 per cent and the month of July alone showed phenomenal success of 22.5 per cent growth,” the Tourism Minister declared.
He credited the marketing and promotional thrust during the London Olympics in 2012 as the medium, which spurred the continuous growth.
“We had used Jamaica House (the marketing initiative), with food, music, the athletes, the drink as a promotional tool and a base from which we built and strengthened the relationship with our partners,” Minister McNeill pointed out.
He informed that for the period under review, Kingston recorded a five per cent increase in arrivals, with a 15 per cent growth for the month of July, even with one major hotel (Hilton) not in operation.
“I am very happy that the Hilton Hotel has now been sold and the new owners will be taking over shortly and will be refurbishing…so next year, on top of the growth that we have, we are going to be welcoming back not just the Hilton but the Courtyard Marriott….so Kingston will be much stronger in what it has to offer,” Minister McNeill stated.
On the matter of cruise arrivals, the sector recorded seven per cent growth for January to July when compared to the same period last year.
“Falmouth has had quite an increase with an 11 per cent growth over last year; Ocho Rios is up 6.5 per cent; and Montego Bay has had a marginal decrease of 3.6 per cent,” he informed.
The Minister is confident of continued growth for the sector with major investments coming on stream, including expansion and emergence of new hotels, developments being spearheaded by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and the ongoing marketing and advertising thrusts.