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MONTEGO BAY — With the 2010/2011 winter tourist season scheduled to close at the end of April, preliminary figures are already showing growth in the number of stop-over visitors. 

This is in keeping with the Ministry of Tourism’s projections for a four to five percent growth for the period.

Giving the main address at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Annual Tourism Outlook Seminar, Tuesday April 19, at the Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, disclosed that Jamaica has been already received approximately 743,776 visitors, an increase over the 704,000 visitors during the last winter tourist season.

“I am very pleased to tell you that the preliminary figures have shown that we have a growth for the winter season so far of 5 .6% in stop-over arrivals alone,” Mr. Bartlett said, attributing the results to strategies employed by his ministry.

“And there is even better news; there is in fact a 9 .6% increase in cruise arrivals, now at 398,000 up from 363,800 last year. This brings, therefore, the total number of visitors for the period to 1,142,548, which represents a seven percent increase over last year,” he announced.

He also pointed out that this has resulted in earnings of US$862 .6 million, representing a six percent increase over the previous season.

Emphasizing that Tourism brings wealth, Mr. Bartlett disclosed that what he would like those in attendance at the two-day Tourism Outlook Seminar to look at, was how the wealth that tourism brings in can be converted to the enrichment of the people who accommodate them.

“Because when a plane lands at the airport, or when a ship docks at the Port with cruise passengers, it brings wealth into the destination, what we do with the wealth determines whether or not we are enriched by it,” he stated.

He insisted that any discussion surrounding the tourism industry must take into consideration both the demand and supply sides of the industry, while the tourism product offering must remain perpetually at the top.

The two-day Tourism Outlook Seminar is taking April 19 and 20, under the theme “Retooling for the New Decade….2011 and Beyond”.

It is being staged by the Ministry of Tourism and the Jamaica Tourist Board, in conjunction with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and is funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

The objective is to create a forum where trends, developments and issues impacting the tourism industry can be discussed, and where participants, including industry stakeholders, experts and media partners will interact and share information.

                                                                      

By Bryan Miller, JIS Regional Office