JIS News

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  • Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says tourism continues to be the engine of growth for the economy, and that locals have a responsibility to ensure the sector remains competitive and visitor friendly.
  • Dr. McNeill said the sector has not only been demonstrating a high level of profitability and dependability, but can now be safely called “the proverbial goose that keeps laying the golden egg.”
  • “The sector has the capacity to improve the quality of life of our people, which is the prime responsibility of our Government," Dr. McNeill said.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says tourism continues to be the engine of growth for the economy, and that locals have a responsibility to ensure the sector remains competitive and visitor friendly.

Addressing the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX)  Tourism Trade Show at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on September 20, Dr. McNeill said the sector has not only been demonstrating a high level of profitability and dependability, but can now be safely called “the proverbial goose that keeps laying the golden egg.”

“The sector has the capacity to improve the quality of life of our people, which is the prime responsibility of our Government. We must ensure that the benefits of the sector have a positive impact, not only on those who live in the resort areas, but throughout every nook and cranny of Jamaica,” he said.

JAPEX, an annual event, is hosted by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). It offers the ideal forum for leading suppliers of the country’s tourism product to meet with travel wholesalers and tour operators in a professionally-organised business exchange.

Noting that the country’s greatest asset is its people, Dr. McNeill said it is not by coincidence that many visitors to Jamaica not only keep coming back, but have also formed lifelong bonds and friendships with locals.

“Last winter we had the distinction of having the Sangster International Airport (in Montego Bay) bursting at the seams. As a result, we had to make special arrangements to ensure that the inflow of visitors had a positive airport experience,” the Minister noted.

Dr. McNeill said the demand for Jamaica was higher than ever and consequently “we suffered a shortfall in rooms.” He added that preparations are well advanced for what is expected to be another bumper winter tourist season, with the country expecting to be on par with last season’s record breaking numbers.

“We broke the two million stop-over arrivals barrier for the first time and we have seen increases in cruise arrivals from all our major ports,” he noted.

“Growth has returned to our main markets of the UK and USA, and we are opening up new markets every year. We already have flights from Nordic countries, such as Norway and Sweden and next year we will see the first direct flight from Dublin, Ireland to Montego Bay,” the Minister added.