JIS News

Jamaica has secured one million seats for the upcoming winter tourist season, as the Ministry of Tourism implements measures to increase airlift from existing and emerging markets.
Speaking at a recent press briefing at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, pointed out that the one million seats were secured from all destinations that the sector serves, including the major markets of the United States (US), Canada and Europe.
“We have 744,000 seats out of the US for the winter tourist season, 153,000 seats out of Canada, and an adequate amount out of Europe,” the Minister informed.
He noted that this arrangement is quite significant as, “having seat security guarantees us that once people are ready to fly, there is a way to get to Jamaica.”
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that arrangements have been finalised for the inaugural non-stop service between Vancouver in Canada and Montego Bay, St. James, starting December 19.
“When that flight touches down into Montego Bay, it will be the first time in the history of aviation tourism, that a direct, non-stop flight out of Vancouver will be coming anywhere in the Caribbean,” the Minister highlighted.
The Vancouver flight, he noted, would allow Jamaica to connect with other gateways, as Air Canada, the provider of the service, flies direct from Beijing to Vancouver daily.
“This fits neatly into the wider strategy that we have been implementing to develop the emerging markets and to look at how we can ensure connectivity out of China into Jamaica,” the Minister said.
Highlighting other airlift initiatives, Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the sector is seeking to enter into flight arrangements with Air Mexico, to make air connections from Montego Bay to Shanghai, via Mexico City. This arrangement, he explained, “will allow for a seamless transfer that we seek from the South, while opening connections for Brazil, Chile, and Columbia.”
“We have an agent over in Mexico City, and we are working with tour operators in that area to drive the market and begin selling Jamaica very seriously, to fill the planes that are coming from there,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that opportunities also exist for Montego Bay to be a hub for connections to Mexico. He added that discussions are currently taking place with Avianca and Copa airlines for possible expansion of routes into Jamaica.