Tourism boost expected from Jamaica anniversary
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 5, 2012 – Jamaica’s tourism is rebounding and this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations are expected to drive up arrivals even further says Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill.
During his contribution to the recent Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, the Minister revealed that the industry brought in US$1.12 billion in gross foreign exchange earnings for the period January to June 2012.
“Though the figures were provisional this is a clear indication that the industry is off to an excellent start,” noting that the increase in earnings represents a 4.2% increase over the same period last year, McNeill said.
The Minister also revealed that provisional estimates indicated that, for for the period January to June, stopover arrivals increased by 3.4%,” moving from 1,045,876 for the same period last year to 1,081,480.
He continued that “at the same time cruise passenger arrivals reflect a phenomenal 39.9% increase,” moving from 554,106 for the same period in 2011 to 775,312. He explained that combined it means that the total visitor arrivals to Jamaica for the first half of the year have increased by 16%.
Regarding stopover arrivals, McNeill said: “in May and June of this year, we have had much better performances than was anticipated with an 8% and 9% increase respectively in stopover arrivals for these two months over the same period last year.”
McNeill also expressed great optimism about the prospects for the sector’s performance in the coming months, citing that “we anticipate the upward trend will be maintained as the Jamaica 50 activities continue, attracting members of the Diaspora coming home to enjoy the jubilee celebrations, while the London Olympics promotions are expected to boost our visitor arrivals in the future.”