JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has reported that the sector is experiencing growth and improved performance despite the economic downturn of its major markets.
He noted that figures indicate that as at the end of August, there were approximately two million visitors to the island, generating more than US$1.47 billion in revenues.
Minister Bartlett pointed out that the revenue earned so far, is in line with the US$2 billion that is projected for the year, representing a four per cent increase over last year when the earning was US$1.93 billion.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday (October 22) at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston, he further outlined that of the two million visitor arrival figure, there were 1,267,266 stopover passengers, representing a 5.7 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2007.
Mr. Bartlett revealed that there was, however, an eight per cent decrease in cruise passenger arrivals due primarily to the “re-deployment of vessels out of the Caribbean to the Mediterranean.”
Giving details on individual market performances, the Minister pointed out that the United States market had a 3.7 per cent increase in arrivals while the European market had the same 195,000 visitor arrival figure as in the 2007 period.
Special mention was made of Latin America and Canada, who gave tremendous performances with 42 and 24 per cent increases respectively. There was also a 12 per cent increase in arrivals out of the Caribbean.
The Tourism Minister revealed that preliminary figures for the months of September and October indicate small growths of 2.2 and 1.7 per cent, respectively.
“The fact is that the performance of tourism in Jamaica today supersedes all other destinations in the Caribbean except for Cuba,” the Minister asserted, while giving the assurance that “there is not going to be a collapse or a dramatic downturn in tourism arrivals to the end of the year.”
He affirmed that reports from the tourism markets and partners have indicated that “there will be a flattening and possibly a slight downturn but definitely not a devastating fall in the arrivals.” In terms of expansion and development of the product, Minister Bartlett noted that since the start of the year, the hotel room stock has increased from 27,000 to 30,000. He added that construction of new rooms is steadily growing and that by 2012, the number of rooms should increase to 45,000.
He noted that the sector is dedicated to “market harder, do better, achieve good results, so as to mitigate the impact of the downturn in the economies of the world. Tourism has its role to play in ensuring that Jamaica’s economic fortune does not falter seriously as a result of this global downturn,” Minister Bartlett stressed.