Monday 24 September, 2018

Best summer tourist arrival figures ever! – Bartlett

Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett

Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett

Jamaica recorded its best summer arrival figures, declared Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett at a press conference held earlier Wednesday in New Kingston.

Bartlett told journalists and tourism officials: “We continue to see stopover arrivals trending upwards. We had an excellent summer period from May to August, with provisional estimates showing stopover arrivals up by six per cent over the same period last year; that is 884,324 visitors compared to the 834, 292 in 2017. These figures contributed to total visitor arrivals (May to August) of 1,312,494, which was a 4.4 per cent increase over the same period last year.

“I would say it definitely has been our best summer ever.”

The Minister of Tourism went on to add that looking at the bigger picture, provisional estimates indicate that between January and August of this year, Jamaica welcomed 2,955, 007 visitors, an increase of 4.7 per cent over the same period last year.

This figure comprised 1,714,060 stop over arrivals and 1,240,947 cruise visitors.

Importantly, earnings outstripped arrivals with estimated gross foreign exchange earnings for the period January to July 2018 coming in at around US$1.936 billion, up 6.3 per cent over the same period in 2017, with stopover arrival earnings of US$1.821.5 billion, up 6.2 per cent and cruise passengers earnings of US$110.1 million up 8.1 per cent.

“Therefore, you can see that we are well on our way to outperform the benchmark target of 5 per cent growth in five years. If we continue with these robust arrival figures to year-end, then for the third consecutive year, the growth of Jamaica’s tourism sector would have exceeded the projected 5 per cent annual growth.

“It also augurs well for our high season, which starts in December. Of course, we do not take this success for granted and we are aggressively targeting new and traditional markets to attain double-digit growth and promote Jamaica as the ideal winter destination, “ said Bartlett. 

He pointed out that direct employment in the industry is set to increase with 12,957 new rooms in the pipeline requiring new staffing.  This spells a need for over 29,538 new jobs over the next five years – 1,979 at supervisory level and 2,186 at managerial level.

Speaking exclusively with Loop News Minister Bartlett said: “  Revenues are trending ahead of arrivals which is a very strong position to be in for the Jamaican product. In most countries revenues lags behind arrivals. This speaks well for the increase in the Average Daily Rate ( ABRs).

“Now the issue of length of stay was a factor when the industry was emerging and when the big push was from the European market and we had fewer attractions. This meant we had a higher employee to room ratio. Today, the market has changed globally. With shorter stays people are spending more. Because we have more rooms, the employee/room ratio is less but efficiencies are greater. So these are new factors that have to be considered.”

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