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JIS News

Jamaica’s tourism market continues to show some level of buoyancy, despite a downturn in other Caribbean markets, with tourist arrivals growing by five per cent at the end of October 2008, over last year.
This was revealed by Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, at a commemoration ceremony for the US$180 million Seawind Key Investments Limited hotel project, in Montego Freeport, Montego Bay, on December 4.
The Minister emphasised that Jamaica’s tourism is holding its own, despite the difficult economic times, and this is due partly to the level of confidence that is being shown towards destination Jamaica, by airlines and other tourism stakeholders.
“For this winter, despite all of the prognostications of great downturn, and we are not expecting to be immune from that, Jamaica still has one million air-seats out of the markets of the world, some 750,000 out of the United States of America alone, 173,000 out of Canada, and 139,000 out of the United Kingdom (UK),” he said.
“What we are saying to you therefore, is that as we speak, the airlines are showing confidence in destination Jamaica, because despite all the downturns and the rationalisation in aviation activity across the globe, to date, not a single airline has decided to discontinue their charter or scheduled flight into Jamaica for this winter,” the Minister pointed out.
Mr. Bartlett said that three weeks ago, the Ministry had confirmation of an additional three flights a week out of Canada to Jamaica, and that an inaugural Air Canada flight out of Vancouver to Jamaica, would arrive in the island on December 19. He said the Vancouver flight is the first such direct Air Canada flight from Vancouver to any Caribbean destination, adding that information is that it is already 90 per cent booked.
Meanwhile, President of AM Resorts, Alejandro Zozaya, the future operator of the new hotel, expressed confidence in destination Jamaica.
He pointed out that the difficult economic times would have some effect on the island’s tourism product, but emphasised that the island’s tourism promotion campaign would cause the industry to do well.
The Seawind Key Investments hotel project will involve the construction of two 350-room hotels, to be completed by December, 2009. On completion, some 1,000 permanent jobs should be available.