First Look

Minister McNeill Refutes Claims by Opposition Spokesman 

Ministry of Tourism | 2012-05-08 09:10:00

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill is refuting claims made in the media recently by Opposition Spokesman for Tourism and Travel Service Development, Edmund Bartlett that the current level of growth in stopover arrivals should have been higher, in light of airlift support secured by the destination.

This follows the recent announcement by Minister McNeill that total visitor arrivals to the island increased by 19.9%, between January to April 2012, when compared to the same period last year. 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.
In refuting the claims by Mr. Bartlett, who is reported to have said that stopover arrivals should have grown by 4-5%, Minister McNeill cited that “we cannot only assess our performance based on the availability of air seats. We have to take into consideration the turbulent economic environment in which we are operating. Our main markets experienced the warmest winter in decades, which affected travel to Jamaica. There is also the fact that travel out of Europe is being affected by the ongoing recession, in addition to the increase in the U.K. Air Passenger Duty, APD and a significant rise in airline ticket prices overall.”
Minister McNeill added that “there was a slide in our stopover arrivals since May 2011, which worsened from the second half of last year into January 2012 in spite of the fact that there was adequate airlift. Stopover arrivals were down 1.6% in December 2011 while in January 2012, we were down 3% over the same period last year.”
The Minister underscored that it was decisive action on the part of the Ministry and its agencies which led to the turnaround, with arrivals picking up between February and April 2012. Minister McNeill explained that “the growth in arrivals can be attributed to steps we have taken including going back on air with our advertising campaign in late January and reopening Braco in Trelawny, and DeCameron in Runaway Bay; which both added approximately 500 rooms to the room inventory.”


For further information contact:
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


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