KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday May 3, 2017 – Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says there are strong indications that Jamaica could reach its goal of five million visitors in a single year, earlier than previously projected.
Bartlett, recently back from a working trip that included stops in Addis Ababa, Dubai and Bangkok, added that the island seems poised to make inroads in both the Asian and African markets, which would significantly boost earlier projections.
“In meetings with senior tourism officials from several countries in Africa, there is a lot of love out there for Jamaica,” he told JIS News.
“There is a lot of interest from Nigeria, where there is a huge middle class, and also from Ghana, where Rita Marley has a huge and very interesting set-up. Also, in Ethiopia the excitement is huge, where the people are feeling a special connection with Jamaica.
“I have always maintained that the African market is huge and has untapped potential, and beginning with the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference, we are going to make a big splash in this market,” the Minister added.
Bartlett pointed out that with the United States, Canadian and European markets holding steady, and in some cases ahead of projections, an inroad into both the Asian and African markets would put Jamaica way ahead of the game.
“We just concluded a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines, one of the real powerbrokers in travel throughout Africa. In partnership with United Airlines in the United States, it is a great set-up as it relates to connections into Jamaica. United, as we know, flies daily into Jamaica,” he noted.
Bartlett said the UNWTO conference, which is slated for the Montego Bay Convention Centre in November, is shaping up to be the biggest tourism conference to ever be held in the Caribbean.