On the back of a gruelling European trip which finished in the UK, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett announced a landmark day for Jamaica's tourism industry with the news that visitor arrival figures were at their highest in Jamaica's history.
The announcement came as Minister Bartlett participated in the launch of the ‘Meet Jamaica at London 2012’ initiative, which began in London early this week, where the programme was rolled out to key and influential business members of the UK Diaspora community as a build-up to the 2012 London Olympics. This launch was then extended to Birmingham, an equally important region for investment in terms of the Diaspora.
Speaking at a seminar that was designed to target key investors from Birmingham and members of the UK press, Minister Bartlett said “I feel privileged to announce that this week a total of 9,998 visitors arrived by air and cruise ship into the country which equates to the total number of visitors on the island being a massive 47,000 week ending, the highest figure since records began. This significant surge in visitor figures is testimony to a number of policies that we have put into place, such as recent legislation for casino and timeshare development and health and wellness implementation. It can also be seen through our adaptive pricing strategy, which we have aggressively applied over the past fiscal year. This has in turn provided huge value to the consumer holiday, without devaluing our rate structure."
The Minister, in his address to the investment forum also emphasized that the Jamaica Tourist Board, JTB, would not rest on its laurels based on these impressive visitor arrival figures and outlined plans to address untapped areas of the market. “Our steps moving forward will be by way of a Geo-graphic strategy, identifying emerging markets which will in turn provide even greater visitation figures in the coming years. To simplify these areas, I’ve focused my proposals on two key demographic areas: BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and MIST (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey), all emerging markets that are looking for a quality destination product that Jamaica can offer them,” Minister Bartlett added.
Seeing the Meet Jamaica at London 2012 initiative is aimed at increasing investment in Jamaica’s products outside of tourism, Minister Bartlett also used the platform to suggest that such initiatives were vital in order to support Jamaica’s rapidly expanding and developing tourism product. “With the clear indication of the ever increasing global popularity of the Jamaica tourism product, the country has to have the capacity to meet the demand of the consumer, such as through a revolution in our agricultural offering. Our aim is to develop a system whereby a large percentage of consumer goods are produced in Jamaica and made by Jamaicans, which in short, would ensure that the wealth remains on the island and is not lost through imports,” Minister Bartlett explained.
The Minister continued that “this point again highlights how vital tourism is, not just to Jamaica but from a global point of view. It now has to be viewed by all leading governments as a key economic driver, that helps reduce poverty within developed and developing countries, helps improve the quality of life for people and most importantly, can help bring about stability and peace."
Issued by: The Ministry of Tourism