Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is reporting strong growth figures in cruise ship arrivals for the first eight months of the year.
He informed that total cruise arrivals were recorded at 937,000 visitors for January to August, reflecting a 33.9 per cent increase over the 700,000 visitors for the corresponding period last year.
Dr. McNeill was speaking at the opening ceremony for JAPEX 2012 at the Sunset Jamaica Grand Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios on Sept. 30.
As it relates to stopover arrivals, the Minister said there was a 2 .4 per cent increase for January to August over the same period in 2011, and preliminary figures are showing a five per cent growth from September 1 to 27, which is a traditional slow month.
He stated that through the efforts of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC) efforts are being made to “crank things up even further" for the coming winter season.
He informed that adequate airlift has been secured from the island's major markets, as well as from new and emerging ones.
Minister McNeill underscored the government's on-going thrust to upgrade the island’s tourism infrastructure, and announced plans to rebrand the town of Ocho Rios under the theme: "Where Eden meets the Ocean".
JAPEX, being held over three days, is the premier marketing and trade show for Jamaica's tourism sector, providing a setting for local stakeholders to meet, network and negotiate with travel wholesalers and tour operators from around the world.
The show, which is in its 22nd staging, is hosted by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) in collaboration with the JTB and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
Also in attendance at the opening ceremony were: Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford; and Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton.