Jamaica set to break visitor arrival and earnings records - Bartlett
Jamaica is set to break both the figure for the number of visitors to arrive on the island this year, as well as the money the visitors collectively spend, according to Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett.
Speaking at the launch of the Tourism Service Excellence Awards on Tuesday at Liguanea Club in St Andrew, Bartlett said tourism in Jamaica has grown consistently for the past 36 years, with the industry now facing new horizons, as indicated by the figures.
“This year is very special, because this year’s growth so far has outstripped all other periods of growth that Jamaica has had in tourism,” said the minister.
“Not because the absolute number of visitors is more than (for) any other period, because I think that in 2006, we had a very strong surge, and the absolute number of visitors who came, in addition to the previous year, will be hard to beat, because I think it was in excess of 200,000.
“We are currently at 143,000 at the end of September, and if we should add cruise to that, that’s where we will really be number one, as we will be in a position where for the first time in our history, 3.3 million people would come to Jamaica at the end of the nine months (up to September),” Bartlett indicated.
He said he was, however, more pleased with the earning from the industry, as for the first time, growth in money spent is ahead of visitor arrival.
“The growth in arrival is now 9.5 per cent, but growth in revenue is 10.8 per cent, and we are only giving you numbers to the end of October. So, what the actual figure is, is US$2.343 billion, with two full months to go, and last year the earning was US$2.56 billion,” outlined the minister.
“So, it is just possible (that) with a little effort, in the month of December in particular, for us to make US$3 billion, and that would be something very special, because we would break a new threshold, but we are going to break another threshold, because at current trend going, will make four million visitors for the first time in our history, in the first week of December,” Bartlett added to cheers from tourism interests who had gathered for the function.
According to Bartlett, the growth in the tourism industry this year resulted from more hotel rooms being available, more flights to Jamaica, and more attractions locally.
He added that with those three factors being at the forefront of the island’s tourism drive, he believes Jamaica will be the number one British West Indies tourist destination this year.