KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday February 21, 2019 – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says 2019 is shaping up to become another record-breaking year for stopover arrivals.
Preliminary figures for airport arrivals for the seven-week period from January 1 to February 17 show the number of visitors at 320,602, which is an increase of 31,172 or 10.2 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
The bulk of the visitors, at 275,902, came through the Sangster International Airport, with Norman Manley International Airport welcoming 44,000 persons.
The Minister’s remarks came in a speech delivered on his behalf by Regional Manager of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Odette Dyer, at the Hyatt Hotels’ Eminence Staff Awards on Tuesday.
Bartlett said that the growth in arrivals since the start of the year, along with the record-breaking figures of over 4.3 million for 2018, puts the sector in good position to exceed the Government’s “5x5x5 growth agenda”, which aims to, by 2021, attract five million tourists, generate US$5 billion in earnings, increase total direct jobs to 125,000, and add 15,000 hotel rooms.
In the meantime, the Minister said that tourism continues to propel growth in Montego Bay and expand economic benefits to the local population.
“We now boast of Montego Bay being the fastest growing city in the Caribbean and that’s fact. I have no hesitation in saying tourism is responsible for that growth,” he said.
“Tourism, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), has been supporting road improvement through the municipal corporation, supporting healthcare, environmental protection and education.”