JIS News

Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has said that Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC) is being strengthened to assist the Ministry’s efforts to increase flights to the island and so boost visitor arrivals.
“JAMVAC, which was pretty much dormant, has been restored and will be strengthened,” the Minister told JIS News in London recently.
“I will appoint a new board for JAMVAC and it will be charged with the responsibility for driving seat support out of Europe in particular and from some of the emerging markets in Asia, China, in particular India, as well as Japan. We will also be looking at strengthening the North American market,” Mr. Bartlett said.
JAMVAC is a company established primarily to open gateways and ensure that there is sufficient seat support to bring visitors into the country.
According to the Tourism Minister, the target of 3.5 million to 5 million in stopover arrivals by 2012, will hinge on increasing airlift to the island. “Certainly, the airlifts are looking a little better but we need to do more with this. We have to look at some new carrier possibilities,” he stated. Air Jamaica, he said, has a key role to play in the process and “the code- share agreement that they have with Virgin needs to be consummated quickly so that we could end up with a stronger flow of visitors out of Europe.”
He said that “critical linkages can also be forged out of several other gateways in the United States where Virgin flies, as a result of those synergies.”According to the Tourism Minister, the possibilities and opportunities that the Virgin connection provides could be enormous for Jamaica.
“My view is that Gatwick is a growing centre, and it’s in fact becoming a hub of choice for a lot of persons from the Caribbean. It is true that more of the top-end travellers are going through Heathrow but having made the arrangements with Virgin, I think it is important for us to work with the possibilities and opportunities that the Virgin connection provides, and these can be quite enormous in terms of the linkages and the gateways,” he stated.

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