Four Per Cent Growth in Tourist Arrivals in 2008


Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that despite the economic downturn in the major markets overseas, Jamaica experienced a four per cent growth in tourist arrivals last year and earned US$2 billion in revenue.
“Last year, we ended the difficult year with a four per cent increase over 2007. We welcomed 1,757,000 visitors to the island, which was 63,000 more than the previous year,” the Tourism Minister revealed at a Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon, held recently at the Pegasus hotel in Kingston.
He said that the United States (US) continued to dominate the market, accounting for 65 per cent of arrivals, which represented an increase of 1.2 per cent over the previous year. “This is significant because the US suffered the greatest impact of the downturn in the global economy,” Minister Bartlett remarked.
Special mention was also made of Canada, which was the biggest growth market, with arrivals from that country increasing by a whopping 53 per cent in the month of November.
Minister Bartlett credited the improved performance of the sector to intense advertising, marketing and promotion of the island overseas.
As to the way forward, he outlined several initiatives, which have been implemented to boost the sector, including a major promotion at the Port Authority Centre in Manhattan, New York last week, where destination Jamaica was displayed on posters and banners. The move, he said, was “to say to not only New York but the entire tri-state area that Jamaica is the place to go when you are cold.”
“We had Brand Jamaica all over the Port Authority, which is the largest hub of commuter activity in the world,” the Tourism Minister pointed out. “Our images and messages were seen by five million eyes,” he added.
Minister Bartlett noted that the promotion will continue with the branding of “every taxi in Manhattan.every dollar cab in the ethnic communities in Flat Bush, East Bronx, and the Borrows of New York.”
The Minister also informed that several airlift arrangements have been made to secure and increase flights into the island from existing and emerging markets.
“West Jet Airlines has increased the number of flights to Jamaica. We have brought a new flight out of Vancouver, Canada, received confirmation from Virgin Atlantic for additional flights later on this year and a new flight is to be announced by one of the large American airlines,” Minister Bartlett outlined.
He stated that “it is the sector’s business to see how we can shape our own strategies in Jamaica to maximise the opportunities that our rapidly changing landscape presents.”

JIS Social