Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett says revenue from both cruise and stop over visitors is outpacing total arrival figures.
Bartlett says preliminary data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) shows that foreign exchange earnings are outpacing arrival figures by ten per cent.
“Last year we saw an unprecedented 4.3 million visitors, which translated to US$3 billion in foreign exchange earnings. The projection is that by the end of this year, Jamaica will see earnings of US$3.3 billion,” he said.
Bartlett was addressing the Ministry of Tourism’s mid-term review and strategic planning retreat held recently in St Andrew.
The retreat included all agencies that fall under the ministry, including the JTB, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Tourism Product Development Company, Devon House Development Company, Jamaica Vacations, Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa and the Milk River Hotel and Spa.
Bartlett said the two-day meeting allowed the ministry and its agencies to drill down to critical programme areas and review their progress so far this year.
In 2016, Bartlett announced the five-by-five-by-five growth targets for the ministry and its agencies, which seek to grow the tourism contribution to the economy by providing five million visitors over a five-year period with earnings of US$5 billion.
In addition, the initiative is expected to improve Jamaica’s room stock by 15,000 while growing at five per cent annually and provide 125,000 direct jobs.
The tourism minister says the targets may have to be revised as the sector is well on the way to achieving “and even surpassing these benchmarks.”