Despite a record-breaking 2017, Jamaica tourism numbers for the first quarter of the year have hit new records, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
“Total stopover and cruise passenger arrivals stood at approximately 1.3 million for the first quarter of 2018 (January to March). That is over 80,000 more tourists than the corresponding period last year, or 6.6 per cent. Provisional data shows that the month of March also recorded a whopping 11.3 per cent increase in stopover arrivals over the same month last year. Of note also is that for the period, gross estimated foreign exchange earnings stood at US$821.2 million, representing an increase of eight per cent,” said Bartlett.
These figures come on the heels of last year’s record growth in arrivals, which eclipsed the total increase of the previous four years, 2012-2015, with total arrivals of approximately 4.3 million and foreign exchange earnings reaching approximately US$3 billion.
Bartlett said that “these increased figures are as a result of a dynamic and multifaceted stakeholder engagement campaign cutting across our main markets – the US, Canada, and Europe – by our team and our first-rate partners in the private sector. We have, over the last several months and weeks before and after the implementation of enhanced security measures in St James, met with major industry players to reassure the world that Jamaica is open for business and is a first-class destination”.
He added: “This continued growth in arrivals also indicates that we are well on our way to surpassing our five-million-annual visitor-arrivals target before 2021 under my ‘5x5x5’ growth strategy. The consistent increase in arrivals is also proof that our tourism product remains robust and highly sought after by tourists worldwide.” said Bartlett.
… Campaign On To Achieve 5x5x5 Tourism Growth Target
The Ministry of Tourism intends to transform the island’s tourism sector and has implemented a ‘5x5x5’ growth plan to attract five million visitors by 2021, generate US$5 billion in tourism earnings, increase the total direct jobs to 125,000, and add 15,000 new hotel rooms.
Delano Seiveright, senior adviser and strategist, said that a “dynamic and multifaceted” stakeholder engagement campaign is scheduled to continue this month, with visits to several key South American markets, including Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia.
“No stone is being left unturned in our team’s zeal to achieve our targets. Stopover arrivals from Latin America grew by over 16 per cent last year alone, and much more growth is in the works,” Seiveright said.
“Minister Bartlett, Director of Tourism Donovan White, and other team members will be meeting with executives of two of the continent’s largest airlines and several key industry stakeholders as we aggressively build out this vast market.”