Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that Jamaica is currently on track to record consistent growth in arrivals out of Canada in 2017. The island is on a growth trajectory that should see it reversing the decline in arrivals out of the Canadian market in recent months.
Speaking at a signing ceremony for the Air Services Agreement between Jamaica and Canada today (Tuesday, December 20, 2016), Minister Bartlett explained that the country experienced an 11% decline in arrivals out of Canada from January to April 2016.
“I am pleased to say that despite the challenges we have had 3 months of continuous growth since September 2016 and as a matter of fact that decline was reduced to 6.7% at the end of October, 2016. So, we expect to end 2016 flat,” he added.
In this regard, Minister Bartlett underscored that much work was done by his Ministry, to not only address the decline, but to also ensure that growth would continue into the New Year.
“Canada is our second largest market and it grew consistently through the recession but has stuttered somewhat. In order to address this problem we visited Canada in August and met with various tourism partners and we are now seeing the results. The last three months, from September to November, represent the first time that we have had growth for three consecutive months in the last three years,” said the Minister.
Statistics from the Jamaica Tourist Board indicate that the country will have an estimated 10,000 additional air seats for winter 2016/17 when compared to the same period last year. This will result in the country having some 292,000 seats overall. This represents a 4% increase over the same period last year.
It was underscored that the Air Services Agreement, which was signed between Jamaica and Canada, is expected to have a direct impact on Jamaica’s tourism sector. It is expected to create an environment for more airlift and will help stoke an increase in visitor arrivals.
“I can say confidently that the framework is in place and these elements have put us firmly on a growth path to have 500,000 visitors out of Canada in 5 years, as we are currently at approximately 300,000. So, it is against this background that we welcome this Air Services Agreement as it will open doors for more code sharing among airlines thereby connecting other destinations to Jamaica through Canada. We are already in discussions with airlines in China to connect through Canada to our destination,” said Minister Bartlett.