MONTEGO BAY — Against the background of projections for a five per cent increase in tourist arrivals for the 2011/2012 winter tourist season over 2010/2011, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, was at the Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Thursday December 15, 2011 for the official start of the new season.
December 15 marks the start of the season, annually, and the first to disembark a US Airways flight were two American residents, Emil Whyte and Muferihat Abdul Jelil, both engineers from California, who were visiting Jamaica to attend the wedding of a friend.
Mr. Bartlett, at a press briefing at the airport, noted that this year’s winter tourist season would be no different from the last few years, as it will prove to be another record breaking season. He mentioned a number of new tourist attractions established to add to the excitement Jamaica has to offer.
He advised that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) will be spearheading an aggressive advertising and marketing initiative for the winter months, with a view to increasing arrivals.
“Critical to ensuring strong arrival figures for the winter tourist season, is ensuring adequate airlift, and I am proud to say that our seating capacity for the upcoming season remains at adequate levels,” he stated.
“Over one million seats have already been secured for the upcoming season, which represents a 4.7 per cent increase over last winter,” he noted. He said the seat availability will enable the arrival of approximately 769,000 visitors for the winter months, which will represent a five per cent increase over last season.
“We also expect some 583,000 cruise ship passengers, bringing the total (number of) visitors projected to arrive in Jamaica for the winter season to some 1.3 million,” he stated.
He explained that the expectations in arrivals are from both traditional and non-traditional markets.
The Tourism Minister appealed to Jamaicans to prove to the world that democracy is alive and well in Jamaica, by being peaceful, calm and tolerant of each other’s views, during the campaigning leading up to, and immediately following, the December 29 General Election.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter