JIS News

Despite the continuing fallout from the current economic meltdown, Jamaica’s tourist industry is holding its own.
In April, Jamaica recorded a 5.8 per cent increase in visitor arrivals, when compared with the similar period last year.
According to Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Director of Tourism, John Lynch, Jamaica received 109,413 in April 2009, when compared with 103,624 visitors in April 2008. “This growth in visitor arrivals is just phenomenal in today’s context and is due to a number of factors. One such factor is a sharp turnaround in visitor arrivals out of the United States gateway and the increase in visitor arrivals out of Canada,” Mr. Lynch said.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Lynch said Canada has become the proverbial ‘White Knight’ and has saved the day, with increases in the high 20 percentage range. This has enabled Jamaica to be one of only three markets in the Caribbean to have enjoyed worthwhile growth in visitor arrivals for the period January through April.
Mr. Lynch added that in the first three months of the year, the industry recorded a three per cent growth. He said the arrival figures for May looked very encouraging, while June has started on a very positive trend.
Turning to price adjustments in the industry, the JTB head said that while the island has adjusted its prices, “we continue to receive more visitors and by extension, this has had a positive effect, by creating more employment opportunities within the tourism industry.”
Mr. Lynch said that Jamaica’s tourism product was at an all time high, noting that the country now boasts the most up-to-date airports in the Caribbean, has excellent ground transportation, and 159 licensed attractions.
“Access to Jamaica at this time is incredible and has never been better. We now have flights out of the biggest hubs in the world,” he added.
Turning to marketing, Mr. Lynch paid tribute to the hard work of the JTB team, outlining that the agency had stepped up its advertising and promotional programmes.
He predicted that Jamaica would enjoy a good summer season, but cautioned that the upcoming fall season would be very challenging. He pointed out that plans are in place by the JTB to start focussing its attention on the fall with heavy promotions, in order to set the stage for a good winter season.

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