Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica has welcomed just over three million visitors since the start of the year.
This, he notes, includes approximately 1.9 million stopover visitors and just over one million cruise-ship passengers.
Additionally, the Minister said the resulting earnings are up 10.2 per cent, and on course to surpass the projected year-end target of US$3.7 billion.
He was speaking at a media briefing held at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Tuesday (October 1).
Mr. Bartlett said the out-turn for stopover arrivals represents an increase of 150,000 or some 8.6 per cent over the corresponding period in 2018, describing this as a “really impressive performance”.
He said the out-turns put Jamaica “firmly on track to meet and exceed our end of year targets… notwithstanding the fallout from cruise ship arrivals”.
“We [also believe we] will still be able to make our targets, insofar as the ‘5x5x5’ key performance indicators (KPIs) that we have established are concerned,” the Minister added.
The Ministry’s 5x5x5 growth agenda aims to attract five million tourists by 2021; generate US$5 billion in earnings; increase total direct jobs to 125,000 and add 15,000 hotel rooms.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett advised that he will be flying to Canada to join Tourism Director, Donovan White, and other Ministry and Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) team members for the start of the JTB’s marketing campaign in that North American country.
Noting that Canada has been Jamaica’s second largest source market with an average of 400,000 visitors, Mr. Bartlett said the JTB has crafted a “very strong marketing programme” to retrieve some of the recent fallout in arrivals and “set the Canadian market back on track”.
Additionally, he said the move forms part of efforts to “create the resilience that our industry needs to ensure that our growth projection for 2020 into 2021 is secured”.
“It is important that that growth is maintained. So, we will be meeting with all our partners over the three days that we will be there… our airline partners, our tour operators, our travel agents,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett also advised that the team will be meeting with members of the Jamaican diaspora, whom he described as “a big part of our market”.
“They are our marketers. It is our diaspora that represents the first point of contact between potential visitors to Jamaica and Jamaica. So, it is critical that they are fully aligned in terms of the marketing programme that we have,” he added.