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2017 most significant growth year for Jamaica tourism says Bartlett

2017 most significant growth year for Jamaica tourism says Bartlett

Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says that 2017 has been the most significant year to date in the island’s tourism history – shattering records in arrivals, earnings and investments.

Speaking to stakeholders at the opening of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) yesterday, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, the Minister shared that “in a single year, we increased arrivals by 500,000. We increased our earnings by US$500 million – a record for any English-speaking Caribbean country in this area. We were able to do that because of you our partners who have helped to establish the known fact that Jamaica is the best destination anywhere in this side of God’s beautiful Earth.”

He further noted that his Ministry has already put measures in place to build on this success by strengthening relations with airlift partners, major cruise-lines and investors.

Following a recent tour of major markets such as Latin America, Canada, USA, Europe and Japan, the Minister says that the outcome of these deliberations will lead Jamaica to exceed the 5% projected for the third consecutive year.

“We have negotiated thousands of additional seats for the 2018-2019 Winter season that we think will give further momentum to the market, including: 38,000 more seats out of the USA; 42,400 more seats out of Canada – a record; 12,000 more seats from Continental Europe; and 7,455 more seats out of the UK and Northern Europe,” said the Minister.

The Minister also announced that commencing this October, several new flights will be making their landing at the Sangster International Airport directly out of Eastern Europe, including Pegas Fly and Norwind.

Canada’s newest low-cost carrier, Swoop, a subsidiary of Westjet, will also commence twice-weekly non-stop flights between the city of Hamilton in Ontario and Montego Bay, starting December 16. While Sunwing will start once-weekly non-stop flights between the city of Sudbury in Ontario, Canada, and Montego Bay, starting this December and ending in April next year.

“We are also going to be increasing connectivity with France. In fact, we are going to France very soon to tie up an arrangement to ensure that there will be air connectivity from Paris into Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“Additionally, on the 26th of October the first flight from Russia with love, will come back to Montego Bay – a Dreamliner with 414 passengers. They told me they had to increase the number of rooms in a certain Negril hotel because the flight was selling so well,” said the Minister.

He noted that the high-performance of the industry was recognized by the illustrious World Travel Awards, which took place on Saturday September 22, where Jamaica received a large number of accolades.

“Jamaica had the greatest showering of awards that the island has seen in decades at the world travel awards…We got almost every award… Partners all I must say to you that sometimes in my quieter moments, I think that we are perhaps the most awarded destination the Caribbean,” he said.

During the prestigious ceremony, Jamaica was awarded the Caribbean’s Leading Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port, and the Caribbean’s Leading Home Port.

Other accolades included the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) being named Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board, the Sangster International Airport being named the Caribbean’s Leading Airport, as well as the Montego Bay Convention Centre getting the Caribbean’s Leading Meeting and Conference Centre award.

JAPEX is the premier trade event for the travel industry locally and is a collaborative initiative between the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the JTB. Staged annually, the three-day trade show provides the ideal forum for leading suppliers in Jamaica’s tourism industry to negotiate, network, and meet with tour operators, travel wholesalers and other tourism partners from across the globe.

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