JIS News

Jamaica’s performance in the tourism industry during 2004, has shown an increase in visitor arrivals despite a very active hurricane season, with the January to April 2004 period being described as the best winter season the island has ever experienced.
According to Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook, the January to April period saw a 9.5 per cent increase in visitor arrivals to the island over the previous season.
“For January to November 2004, stopover arrivals to the island increased by 5.5 percent with 1,278,921 visitors, of that number 71 per cent came from the United States, 7 per cent from Canada and 17 per cent from the U.K and Europe combined,” he informed.
With respect to cruise shipping, he said that for the January to November period in 2004, the island saw a total of 966,022 cruise passengers visiting from 414 cruise calls, which represented a slight decline in comparison to the similar period in 2003. This he attributed to the impact of the very active 2004 hurricane season.
“I am happy to report however, that there are already very clear indications that the cruise arrivals are back on track, because all the cruise lines have come back in, they came back in not very long after the hurricanes. As a matter of fact additional cruise lines are making calls this winter, so we are very much back on track with our cruise passenger arrivals,” Mr. Pennicook said.
The Tourism Director made the comments while addressing a Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) press conference at Caribbean Marketplace 2005, held at the Half Moon Hotel, in Montego Bay on Monday, January 10, 2005.
In highlighting the prospects of the island’s tourism industry, Mr. Pennicook painted a positive picture with mention of the number of new hotel rooms slated to come on stream and the increased availability of airlift to the island. He said that while some 5,000 new hotel rooms were scheduled for construction during the next five years, transportation to the island was also becoming progressively easier both by air and sea, especially with the island now being served by all the major airlines in the United States.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, who also addressed the press conference underscored government’s recognition of the importance of the tourism industry to the island’s economy, which relates directly to the government’s policy on that industry.
He made special mention of the Tourism Master Plan, adding that the aim was to make the tourism product inclusive while development took place. Dr. McNeil further pointed out that a lot of the infrastructural developments that were taking place in the country were geared toward tourism development.

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