JIS News

Jamaica’s tourism arrivals figures for January to December, 2009 are showing a 3.6 per cent increase over the similar period for 2008.
The country welcomed over 1.8 million stop over visitors for the period and, continuing the positive trend into 2010, provisional arrivals figures for January is showing an 8.4 per cent increase over January, 2009.
This was disclosed by Director of Tourism and Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch, when he addressed a panel discussion at the Tourism Outlook Seminar at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, Rose Hall, St. James.
The three day event is taking place February 1 to 3, under the theme: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities in Tourism, Rising Above the Current Global Economic Landscape.
In his presentation titled, “Jamaica’s Roadmap to Growth in the Current Landscape”, Mr. Lynch made reference to efforts and initiatives aimed at marketing the country, amidst the harsh global economic environment. He described Jamaica’s achievement, over the period, as “very good,” as it happened despite worldwide projections for a downturn in tourism.
“Given the current global economic environment, we feel that achieving a 3.6 per cent growth at a time like this, is good. It was not a walk in the park, it took a lot of effort and also required us taking some calculated risks resulting in changes at short notice,” he stated.
He said that the Jamaican tourism sector had to be proactive over the period, and very responsive to trends within the industry.
“We had to be able to recognise the opportunities which presented themselves, and we had to be swift enough to capitalise on them,” he stressed.
He said that with a limited budget, the JTB had to adopt a cohesive strategy with respect to its advertising, public relations, sales and internet applications. He expressed the view that having Jamaica remain visible, both to consumers and within the tourism trade, was a key strategy adopted.
The Tourisn Director made mention of the move to increase the availability of airline seats to Jamaica, describing that initiative as one of the most important and effective strategies adopted.
“As a result, we are pleased to acknowledge that for the Winter of 2009/2010, we have approximately one million air seats available, both scheduled and chartered, to facilitate travel to the destination, from all the major cities in the United States,” he pointed out.
Expressing the view that the gains within this winter season would set the stage for a good year in 2010, he opined that based on the groundwork done and plans to continue the high level of work, there should be real growth within the Jamaican tourism sector in 2010.