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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has reported that 2007 was a record year for Jamaica’s tourism industry, with close to three million visitors to the island, generating more than US$1.9 billion in revenues.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday on March 19 at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston, the Minister further outlined that of the figure, there were 1,700,785 stopover passengers, representing a 1.3 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2006. He noted that the September to December quarter of 2007 was extremely strong and impacted significantly on the overall figure.
Mr. Bartlett revealed that there was, however, a dip in cruise passenger arrivals with 1,179,504 visitors to the island, compared with 1,334,441 in 2006.He pointed out that this 11 per cent decrease was due primarily to the “redeployment of vessels out of the Caribbean.”
“This was not just a Jamaican downturn, but a Caribbean one. Jamaica’s downturn was significantly lower than the Caribbean’s average downturn, which was in the 20s,” the Minister highlighted.
Giving details on individual market performances, the Minister pointed out that North America continued to dominate the arrivals with some 1,132,532 visitors coming from that area. Canada and the United Kingdom followed with 190,650 and 185,657 visitors, respectively.
Special mention was made of Spain, which gave a “stellar performance” with 17,882 visitors, representing a 140 per cent increase over 2006.
In terms of last year’s room inventory, the industry experienced the addition of almost 500 rooms to its existing stock, totalling 27,231. The Minister noted that another 3,217 rooms are expected to come on stream this year. Turning to 2008 targets, Mr. Bartlett said the industry is predicting a 13 per cent increase in stop over arrivals, a three per cent increase in cruise passenger arrivals and a 14.5 per cent increase in revenues.