Jamaican Tourism Officials Eye Lucrative Japan Market

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 14, 2019 – Jamaica is targeting Japan and India as the Caribbean island continues to expand its source markets for tourists.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett noted that Japan was a “very good market” for Jamaica over 20 years ago, before varying factors affecting the Asian nation, including economic issues, resulted in a downturn in arrivals from that country.

“But the Japanese economy rebounded and they are doing extremely well. Their outbound market is over 20 million (travellers) and their appetite for Jamaica and the Caribbean is returning,” he said.

Bartlett said Jamaica has forged flight arrangements out of Japan with United States-based Delta airlines, which has co-sharing connections with air carriers in Japan. American Airlines, he added, has similar arrangements.

“So the arrangements for airlift [out of Japan] into Jamaica are in a far better place at this time then they were over the last 20 years,” he noted.

The Tourism Minister disclosed that Jamaica has been invited to participate as a major exhibitor in Japan’s global exposition, slated for October 24, and to utilize that opportunity to tap into the outbound travel market.

He is also scheduled to meet with the head of the Japan Tourism Agency (JATA) and the country’s Tourism Minister.

“The Minister and I will also have discussions on some broader areas of collaboration. I have also been asked to present at their Ministerial Round Table, which will take place over the period,” Bartlett said.

He said the Japanese market is “lucrative”, with the length of stay of the Japanese visitor being about twice that of tourists from the United States.

“The average [visitor] spend, now, is somewhere in the region of US$125. So we expect that for them (Japanese), it perhaps would be closer to US$200. So we would be expecting a higher level of spend from the Japanese visitor,” Bartlett noted.

In relation to India, he pointed out that in addition to the Asian nation being regarded as the fastest growing economy globally, it boasts, arguably, “the best wedding market in the world”.

“Indian weddings are the envy of every destination because they are large and high-spending. One of the good things about the Indians is that they are very family-oriented. So when there is a wedding, everybody comes for a long period of time and so you end up with a very large and reliable flow from that market,” he said.

Minister Bartlett said Jamaica is seeking to tap into that market, and “work has already started”.

“We have a representative in India now and relationships are being forged. We are partnering with some of the tour operators and travel agents there. Hopefully, come April next year, we will be able to participate in a mega event that is happening in India where, hopefully, we will be able to announce air and other connections that will start the flow of Indian tourists into Jamaica,” he said.

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