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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that Jamaica has negotiated a number of flights into the island from emerging and existing markets, which will secure air travel for next year.
“The fact is that whilst the rest of the region and arguably the world will be having trepidations about air travel for the next year, Jamaica’s position has been secured,” the Minister stated as he addressed yesterday’s (June 11) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
He said that from visits to emerging markets in Beijing, China; Tokyo, Japan and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from April 18 to 23, “we were able to negotiate and complete arrangements between some of the airlines in Asia, particularly China Southern Airlines, China Air as well as the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA), to create linkages with Air Jamaica through connections out of critical gateways such as New York.”
He noted that discussions were also held about the possibility of linking with Mexico’s Aero Mexico airline, so that the traffic out of Asia could find a route to Jamaica through Mexico City and New York. “Already, that programme has been showing some signs of results, because Air Jamaica’s afternoon flight out of New York is now getting traffic out of Asia en route to Montego Bay,” the Minister informed.
Turning to other destinations, Mr. Bartlett informed that negotiations were completed last Thursday with one of the legacy carriers out of the United States (US) to guarantee an additional 2,000 seats or 17 rotations starting in November of this year into November 2009. There will be five additional rotations out of Canada.
Out of Europe, he said, “we have been able again, to settle those flights that are scheduled for Jamaica and in addition, to bring in another five rotations out of Italy, and a new one out of Russia, which will be very important to us, because that would mean now the opening up of the Russian market to Jamaica. We’ll have an additional three rotations out of Spain as well as one from Germany.”
In the meantime, the Minister told journalists that while in Japan, discussions were held with the Japan Air Transport Association (JATA) and its travel agents, about a quota for outbound traffic into Jamaica from Japan.
He noted that in 2007 “we had some downturn of about 18 per cent out of Japan and we are fortunate in timing, because just as we went to speak with JATA, their board was being set up for the distribution of Japanese outbound traffic for the next three years, and .we were able to have them pencil in 50,000 visitors as their target to arrive in Jamaica between now and 2010. That was critical because the Japanese market had traditionally been a good market for us. They are high spending, they spend longer times, and they visit all over the country parts when they are here.”
The visit to Dubai, Mr. Bartlett, pointed out, was equally important as “it gave us an opportunity to look at really iconic attractions, the kind of development in tourism that’s the wave of the future. We were able to have good discussions with potential investors.”
Turning to marketing strategies, the Minister noted that since June 1, the Ministry has begun to “literally storm every one of our traditional markets.we are doing much of the US market, then we will be going into Latin America and South America for the emerging markets.”
Jamaica was granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by China in 2005, thereby facilitating outbound group travel from China.