- Chinese visitors to Jamaica will soon be able to enter the country and stay for up to 30 days without a visa.
- The administration has recognized China’s potential for growth as a tourism market for Jamaica, with that country being the largest spender in international tourism globally.
- Relaxing the visa requirements is a concerted effort by the government to develop new markets for the tourism industry.
Chinese visitors to Jamaica will soon be able to enter the country and stay for up to 30 days without a visa.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, said Cabinet has approved the new measure.
Addressing the Jamaica House media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister on February 26, Senator Falconer said that up to now, it has been difficult to achieve substantial growth in Chinese arrivals, as many citizens of that country have had to travel great distances simply to obtain a visa from the Jamaican Embassy in Beijing.
She said the administration has recognized China’s potential for growth as a tourism market for Jamaica, with that country being the largest spender in international tourism globally.
Senator Falconer noted that relaxing the visa requirements is a concerted effort by the government to develop new markets for the tourism industry, and follows similar moves for nationals of several countries in Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe.
“This strategy bore fruit almost immediately, producing double-digit performance in relatively short periods of time and demand for travel that has brought new airlift from those markets,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, informed that last year, Jamaica attracted 2,420 Chinese tourists, an increase of 15.1 per cent over the previous year. “The fact is the numbers are small, but the market has the potential for significant growth,” he said.
Dr. McNeill also posited that Jamaica’s strong business connections with China will result in the strengthening of both sectors.
“My team and I will now be looking at strengthening the marketing efforts of the Jamaica Tourist Brand (JTB), a part of which will involve the Director of Tourism and I attending the Shanghai Trade Show in April. We will also be continuing our discussions on developing airlift arrangements from the region,” he said.
Dr. McNeill pointed out that the new visa regime will come into effect in a few weeks time, as soon as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Security and its agencies, institute the preliminary processes to effect a smooth implementation.
He has assured that relaxation of the visa requirements, “in no way weakens the border controls” currently in place. “We are instituting electronic and other methods to keep our borders as tight as ever, while allowing the ease with which we are doing business to increase,” the Minister said.