KINGSTON – Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the tourism sector has recorded a 9.4 per cent increase since the start of the winter season, with just over one million cruise and stopover arrivals, up from 962, 809 for the same quarter last year.
Speaking at the Rotary Club of St. Andrew’s weekly luncheon at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday March 29, Mr. Bartlett said the country has earned approximately US$766 million in foreign exchange from the activity, which represents a 7.4 per cent increase in earnings over the previous year’s US$714 million.
He said the country exceeded the one million tourist mark for the first time in a three-month period.
“What this means is that we are on track to surpass the two million stop-over arrivals which we have projected, and in line to make 3.4 million or possibly 3.5 million overall cruise and stopovers and earning, of course, well in excess of US$2 billion in foreign exchange for Jamaica,” he announced.
The breakdown indicated that 674, 179 stop over arrivals and 379, 558 cruise passengers visited Jamaica during the first quarter, increases of 6.8 per cent and 14.5 per cent, respectively.
Mr. Bartlett said the country’s tourism sector has performed tremendously well over the last four years, recording increases in arrivals “every single year”, as well as successfully positioning itself as an ideal destination.
“(These are) increases which are commendable in the current climate, and even exceptional, depending on where you are talking from,” he said.
“To be able to have an average of 3.5 per cent growth over the last four years in a recessionary period, and to be able to keep revenue flows on par and indeed netting an increase of some 2.5 per cent over the period, is commendable to the team and the stakeholders in the industry,” he concluded.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter