JIS News

There are indications that the marketing initiative undertaken by the Tourism Ministry in key overseas markets, to counter the negative publicity generated by the West Kingston unrest, is yielding fruit.
In the aftermath of the unrest in May, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, announced a major US$10 million marketing and promotional initiative, targeting the traditional United States, Canada and United Kingdom markets, as well as emerging destinations in South America and Europe. He contended then, that the negative publicity generated, could lead to a possible US$300 million loss in Jamaica’s foreign exchange earnings, if effective and timely damage control measures were not employed.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (July 21) Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) Chairman’s Club Breakfast Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston,
Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica is on track, this month, to possibly repeat the over 190,000 visitor stopover arrivals recorded in July 2009.
“This summer is holding well. Last.July was the largest month in the history of tourism arrivals in Jamaica. (with) 196,000 stopover arrivals recorded, only bettered by March, this year, when we broke the 200,000 mark. We are, at this time, pacing at the same level of July last year,” the Minister informed.
While pointing to a possible fall in autumn figures, he was optimistic about winter, noting that, “we think we will be back up.”
Mr. Bartlett said that the meetings and discussions with the travel partners, yielded several positive results. These, he informed, include safeguarding airlift arrangements with several airlines, which fly into Jamaica.
“Airlift for us was very critical, because Jamaica is the most connected destination in the (Caribbean) region. When we were able to satisfy our airline partners that Jamaica is still strong enough as a destination for them fly into.that not a single flight was cancelled.they bought into it sufficiently. When I left Canada, West Jet announced eight more flights to Jamaica for the winter, and, on the weekend, we (met) with the President of Jet Blue, and they will soon be announcing some more new gateways that we are going to be connected to,” the Minister disclosed.
Also, as part of the initiative, Mr. Bartlett said the team was able to secure commitments for visits to Jamaica from a number of overseas tour operators and travel agents with whom they interfaced, pointing out that “they have started coming already.”
Regarding the government’s response to the unrest, Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica’s overseas tourist partners were given the assurance that the move was a concerted and determined effort by the society to counter crime and violence, in a bid to effect a major transformation of the country, to one that is safe for visitors and locals.

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