First Look

The Tourism Sector Performed Well in Winter Season - Minister McNeill

Ministry of Tourism | 2012-05-08 09:07:00

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has revealed that the tourism sector has performed well, especially in light of the serious challenges faced by the industry. While addressing journalists during a press briefing at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices today, Thursday, May 3, 2012, Minister McNeill reported an increase in total visitor arrivals to the island of 19.9%, for the January to April 2012 period, when compared to the same period last year.

Pointing out that these were provisional estimates, the Minister attributed the increase to the boom in cruise passenger arrivals, which grew by 55%, and a 1% increase in stopover arrivals for the same period. He explained that Jamaica welcomed 1.349 million visitors in total, with 739,000 stopover visitors and a just over 610,000 cruise arrivals. “This is precisely in-keeping with what we had estimated at our press briefing in February.”

Terming this performance as “commendable,” Minister McNeill underscored that it was achieved despite numerous challenges. “This improved performance should be viewed in the context that our main markets experienced the warmest winter in decades, and travel out of Europe was affected by the recent increase in the Air Passenger Duty, APD, and the ongoing recession in Europe, especially in countries like Spain, Italy and the UK,” he stated.

Minister McNeill further outlined that the monetary contribution of these visitors to the economy was US$814 million, which represents an increase in expenditure of 4.5% over the same period last year. Buoyed by the figures, he stressed that “for the upcoming summer we expect that this trend will continue and we are anticipating growth of 2% for this period.”
He cited several factors which should make this growth possible including the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence, for which special offers are being provided to the Diaspora market by Jamaica’s tourism partners. These will seek to encourage members of the Diaspora to travel home especially for the celebrations. Additionally, ‘Experience Jamaica 2012,’ Jamaica’s campaign to promote local travel, will be launched on May 8 of this year, and will include special rates and packages from hotels, attractions and other tourism entities targeting the domestic market.

Minister McNeill also outlined that there has been marked improvement in airlift with re-established charter service out of Dallas, Texas twice weekly for the summer; non-stop charters from Cincinnati and Nashville, each providing one charter weekly and adding 8,500 new seats to Jamaica for the summer; and a newly initiated year-round Jet Blue service from Fort Lauderdale to Kingston. It is also expected that arrivals out of Brazil, Chile and Argentina will be boosted as a result of increased capacity from Copa Airlines; potential flights from Moscow to Jamaica; and the decision by Virgin Atlantic to increase from two to three their number of weekly flights into Montego Bay from the UK, as of November 2012.


Kingsley Roberts
Senior Director, Corporate Communications,
Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment,
64 Knutsford Boulevard,
Kingston 5.
Tel: 920-4926-30, ext: 5934
Cell: 322-9871
Fax: 920-4944

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