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  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has indicated that the sector has seen steady growth in arrivals and earnings since the start of the year.
  • Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on September 20, the Minister informed that between February and September, preliminary figures have shown that more than 2.5 million visitors came to the island, with the country earning approximately US$1.6 billion.
  • The Minister noted that the increase in room stock and expansion of hotels across the island are expected to propel growth for the sector with an increase in both arrivals and earnings.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has indicated that the sector has seen steady growth in arrivals and earnings since the start of the year.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on September 20, the Minister informed that between February and September, preliminary figures have shown that more than 2.5 million visitors came to the island, with the country earning approximately US$1.6 billion.

“We have welcomed 1.5 million stopovers and just a little over one million from cruise for the period. The earnings from the 2.5 million arrivals represent a 5.2 per cent increase over the same period last year,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett said the industry is anticipating another 1.5 million arrivals over the remaining period, primarily from the cruise sector, as the last three months of the year are very strong cruise months.

“We are expecting to close in on the four million arrivals for this year,” the Minister added.

“At the rate at which we are going this year, we could be at US$2.7 billion at the end of the year and could possibly make the US$3 billion by the year 2017 or 2018,” Mr.  Bartlett said.

The Minister noted that the increase in room stock and expansion of hotels across the island are expected to propel growth for the sector with an increase in both arrivals and earnings.

“This upcoming winter season, we are going to be bringing nearly 2,500 new rooms into the inventory and that by itself, even at a 68 per cent occupancy, will account for an additional two per cent in growth. So, we are comfortable that the five per cent growth that we are projecting, which we require on an annual basis, will be achieved by 2018,” he said.

He continued that with the 5,000 new rooms that are likely to come on stream from Karisma, the expansion of a number of facilities in Montego Bay, the expansion of the Sandals programme in Negril and Port Antonio and those that are coming in Kingston, the sector will be able to obtain the 15,000 additional rooms projected by 2021.