Said Jamaica’s Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr. Wykeham McNeill
According to Minister McNeil, Jamaica recorded a 5.5 per cent increase in visitor arrivals for the nine-month period between January and September 2015.
Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) statistics revealed a total of over 1.6 million tourist arrivals during the period.
The minister pointed to the fact that this amounted to about 38,000 more than the corresponding period in 2014.
He also noted that this year’s figure includes increased cruise ship visitor arrivals, which were 105,000 more than last year.
Dr. McNeill touted the positive trend as part of the overall outlook for the country while speaking at a weekly Kingston Rotary Club luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, recently.
The minister expressed his delight in the new turnaround and was pleased with the notable increase in numbers especially out of the U.S.
In addition, Dr. McNeill noted that arrivals out of the United Kingdom are encouraging as there was a decline in numbers due to the global economic downturn and issues with the Air Passenger Duty (APD), among others.
He further lauded the fact that Jamaica has secured an additional 60,000 airlift seats that will become effective during the upcoming 2015/16 Winter Tourist Season that is set to start on December 15.
He also took note of the fact that of this number, over 50,000, originated in the United States.
The airlines involved in the airlift include Frontier Airways, which will channel flights out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; American Airlines, which will have flights out of Los Angeles, California; and Southwest, which will schedule daily flights out of Houston, Texas.
“When you take into consideration that next year we are going to be bringing direct flights from [places] like Dublin (in the Republic of Ireland) to Montego Bay, we are really opening up… the possibilities for Jamaica,” the minister said.
Edited by Jesus Chan
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