Jamaica’s tourism received another major boost Thursday (February 11), when Air Tran Airways launched nonstop services from three locations in the United States to Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay.
The three inaugural flights from – the Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Orlando International Airport and the Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, touched down in Montego Bay Thursday afternoon (February 11) with a total of 259 passengers.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, greeting young passengers from Air Tran Airways flight from Baltimore in USA to Sangster International in Montego Bay Thursday (February 11).Three Air Tran flights made their inaugural trips to Jamaica bringing a total of 259 passengers to the Tourist capital.
This has opened up the way for some 18 Air Tran flights to take passengers to Sangster Airport weekly, with nonstop flights available daily from Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington, while travellers in Orlando will be able to choose from four flights per week. Customers, in more than 40 cities throughout Air Tran’s network , will also have the option of connecting to Jamaica through these three cities.
In welcoming the inaugural flights, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that the occasion marked an historic moment for Jamaica’s tourism, both in terms of commercial flight frequency and visitor inflows.
“Air Tran is the first airline ever to bring more than one flight into Jamaica on the same day. This is a major display of confidence in this destination and we are grateful for that,” he said.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (right), gives a welcoming hug to Joyce Strom (left), the oldest passenger on Air Tran’s inaugural flight from Baltimore, USA to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay Thursday (February 11). Three Air Tran flights made their inaugural trips to Jamaica bringing a total of 259 passengers to the Tourist capital.
He added that Air Tran will be an important addition to Jamaica’s airlift, which is welcomed with open arms, especially in the midst of the Winter Tourist Season.
“We expect a record number of visitors, due to the robust marketing and airlift strategies we have been pursuing. this Winter, for the first time, we will have over one million airlift seats into Jamaica,” Mr. Bartlett noted.
He said that with over 800 million tourist arrivals in destinations worldwide, Jamaica intends to get its fair share of that market.
“Through Jamaica’s ‘Drive for Five’ programme, we are aiming to achieve five million arrivals and earn US $5 billion by 2015,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He pointed that, last year, Jamaica achieved the highest ever number of visitors- over 1.8 million.
“We know that if we are to achieve our goal of five million, airlift will be the answer. It is for this reason that we celebrate this debut of Air Tran to Jamaica,” he remarked.
Mr. Bartlett said that he was satisfied that the Sangster International Airport had been upgraded to world class standards, and pledged to continue the enhancement of the shopping experience through the boosting of the quality and quantity the duty free offerings.
“We have examined the earning potential of this sector very carefully, and have decided to put in place mechanism that will allow us to market this destination as a shopping Mecca,” he explained.
He said that Jamaica is the number one destination in this region and one of the most recognizable destinations and brands in the world.
“We have to do more just to maintain our reputation, and go further still if we are to sprint away from our competitors in the manner of Usain Bolt. Our collaboration with Air Tran represents and reflects our commitment to change. It reflects our commitment to the new tourism that we are implementing,” he argued.