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The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has decided to adjust the country's advertising schedule for the US market, after discussions with its team in the United States (US).

“We will start advertising on November 26 to shore up our bookings in the US, and will have a three-week advertising blitz that will take us into the period before Christmas,” says Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill.

The Minister was speaking at a press briefing, held at the Ministry’s New Kingston Offices on Thursday (November 15).

Dr. McNeill pointed out that the US elections, held on November 6, would normally have a dampening effect on arrivals. However, with Hurricane Sandy affecting the north east US, it has “complicated the marketing challenge going forward."

“We are now considering the possible longer term strategies that will help us regain momentum in North America, while reinforcing our efforts in Russia, Central Europe and Scandinavia,” Dr. McNeill said.

Sandy hit Jamaica on October 24 and caused the cancellation of 32 flights. When it hit the north east USA, 36 more fights were cancelled. Despite this, arrivals for the month of October were just marginally down over the similar period last year, less than one per cent at -0.9 per cent.

“This was partly due to the positive performance we were having up to that point.

In discussions with our partners, none of the airlines that fly out of the northeast have decided to reduce service, so we expect to see an improvement as we regain momentum,” Dr. McNeill said.

He noted that there was no doubt that in the short and even medium term, the Hurricane’s impact on the northeast states could present challenges for Jamaica.

“As I had indicated immediately after the hurricane, this is not a time for panicking, but a time for strategic planning on the way forward and reinforcing our relationship with our partners,” the Minister emphasised.

He said based on the feedback from the Jamaica Product Exchange, and World Travel Market, the outlook for the upcoming winter tourist season in Jamaica “seems encouraging."