Preliminary figures indicate that the tourism industry has grown by 9.2 per cent since the start of the winter season, with 311,210 stop-over arrivals, up from 285,005 in 2009/2010.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday February 10 at the Ministry, New Kingston, Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett, pointed out that 26,205 more tourists visited Jamaica, compared to the December-February period in 2009. Earnings for the period were US$209 million, a 7.5 per cent increase over the previous year’s US$194.6 million.
“In terms of the out-turn for the month of January, for both cruise and stop-over arrivals, the total arrival for all visitors was 269,660, as against 248,230 last year, an 8.6 per cent increase,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The breakdown indicated that 173,337 stop-over arrivals and 96,323 cruise passengers visited Jamaica during January, increases of 7.6 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively.
“These performance figures are indicative of what the winter season is going to be-very strong – providing significant growth, as well as maintaining growth in employment in the sector,” he highlighted. However, the Minister said that the sector will have to intensify its advertising, marketing and airlift strategies to sustain growth.
“We are finding that the airlines, especially out of North America, are beginning to look at pulling down their flights to the Caribbean, in favour of domestic routes,” he explained, adding that this could result in a loss of up to 60,000 seats, in the summer, out of the US markets.
He said that the solution was to move swiftly to increase advertising and promotional support, as well as develop a partnership with the airlines to keep the routes intact.
CONTACT: KADIAN BROWN