JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Hon. Aloun Ndombet Assamba, has said that 2006 was a record year for the tourism sector, with more than three million visitors to the island, generating US$1.9 billion in revenues.
The figure represents a 15.3 per cent increase over 2005. “In one calendar year, we had more than three million visitors, in fact 3.015 million visitors arrived in Jamaica as at the 31st December,” the Tourism Minister stated. One million of those visitors coming from the northeast United States, which was a record number of arrivals from any one market.
The Minister, who was speaking at a press conference held yesterday (Jan. 9) at the offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in New Kingston, further outlined that of the three million visitors, there were 1,680,642 stopover passengers, representing a 13 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2005.
In addition, there were 1,334,441 cruise passengers, representing a 17.5 per cent increase in comparison to the previous year. “This is the second year running that we have had our cruise passengers being over a million passengers and that is a 24 per cent increase in earnings to us over 2005,” Mrs. Assamba stated.
She noted that this level of success was expected to continue into the New Year, noting that there was no known English-speaking destination that has had the same level of growth. “Our success in increasing the number of persons coming to Jamaica did not happen by chance.it happened as a result of very serious planning and hard work. We expect given our forward bookings, that we will have an excellent winter and a very buoyant summer,” she stated.
Turning to new hotel developments, the Tourism Minister informed that the Spanish-owned Bahia Principe resort in St. Ann was doing well. “They now have 549 rooms in operation and on January 8, they had 890 guests in house and these guests come from a spread of markets – Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States. In fact, a charter came in from Portugal and Spain on December 26 with 240 guests. This is going to be a weekly charter and it is booked for that hotel until the end of the winter season,” the Minister informed.
Mrs. Assamba informed that the JTB and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) are working closely with the hotel on quality assurance and legal and administrative issues.

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