Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says an additional 36,000 airlift seats from the United Kingdom (UK), have been secured for the country, beginning in the summer into next year.
This follows the country’s successful multi-ministerial marketing and promotional venture, 'Jamaica House', which was established in the Millennium Dome (O2 Arena) in London, to promote brand Jamaica and capitalise on the success of the country’s athletes at the just concluded Olympic Games.
Addressing a Post Olympics Press Briefing at Jamaica House, Monday August 20, 2012, Dr. McNeill informed that 25,000 airlift seats have been secured for next year, with the UK-based Virgin Holidays confirming another flight from Gatwick, London to Montego Bay.
"TUI (Travel) finalised an extra fortnightly flight for the winter to Montego Bay and weekly flights in the summer (from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham in London). This will add 11,000 new seats. Of note is that two of these three gateways have large Diaspora population,” he told journalists.
Dr. McNeill said the 'Jamaica House' venture, which attracted a high level of business persons, facilitated in particular, the forging of viable partnerships in the travel trade, resulting in the additional airlift seats for the country, and 1,500 travel agents being invited to visit Jamaica. This will be done in five rotations, starting September 6.
He pointed out that interest in Jamaica continues to grow globally, noting that summer to date (May to August), arrivals are showing more than six per cent increase over last year. “This represents over 32,000 additional arrivals,” the Minister said.
Pointing to the peak in interest in Jamaica during the Olympics, Dr. McNeill noted that Skyscanner, a leading flight aggregating website, reported a 53 per cent in enquiries about travel to Jamaica during the period of the promotions.
"We will continue to leverage the outstanding performance of our athletes at the London Olympics in promoting the destination. Already, plans are in place for our advertisement featuring Usain Bolt, to be used in an online campaign for the UK market,” he said.
"Our promotional activities in London 2012 have been extra-ordinarily successful….Jamaica House was so successful that we have registered the concept to ensure that we will be able to continue this legacy at the Olympics in 2016,” the Minister informed.
Jamaica House was a collaboration among the Ministries of Tourism and Entertainment; Industry, Investment and Commerce; Sports; JAMPRO; Jamaica 50 Secretariat; the Jamaica Tourist Board; and the Office of the Prime Minister.