Tourism Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the island experienced record-breaking stopover arrivals from May to August this year, with provisional estimates showing stopover arrivals up by 6 percent, over the same period last year. The UK market has also performed well during the months of June and July with visitor numbers up by 3% and positive projections for the rest of the summer months.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry of Tourism’s New Kingston office, the Minister shared that, “it has definitely has been our best summer ever. We had 884,324 visitors compared to the 834,292 from the period May to August in 2017. These figures contributed to total visitor arrivals (May to August) of 1,312,494, which was a 4.4 percent increase over the same period last year.”
Data received by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), also indicate that an estimated gross foreign exchange earnings for the period January to July 2018 were US$1,935.8 million, up 6.3 percent over the same period in 2017, with stopover arrival earnings of US$1,821.5 million, up 6.2 percent and cruise passenger earnings US$110.1 million up 8.1 percent.
“The preliminary data also shows that earnings up to the end of August are over $2 billion. Expenditure from tourists for the first 8 months is $2.2 billion. We are trending well ahead of the 3 billion mark for the end of the calendar year,” says the Minister.
Provisional estimates indicate that between January and August of this year, the country welcomed 2,955,007 visitors, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period last year. This figure comprised 1,714,060 stop over arrivals and 1,240,947 cruise visitors.
“The projections that we made for growth last year was for 5 percent per annum for 5 years. Last year we broke all of that because we got 12 percent – that is a phenomenal achievement. We are excited about that prospect and we are seeing that we are going to get to that mark,” said the Minister.
Minister Bartlett also disclosed that his Ministry intends to build on the successes of 2017, which saw 4.3 million visitors visiting the island. This was a 12.1 percent increase over 2016, with US$3 billion in revenue. It was also the first time in the country’s history that Jamaica welcomed more than 500,000 new visitors in a single calendar year.
“We do not want to take this success for granted and we are aggressively targeting new and traditional markets to attain double-digit growth and promote Jamaica as the ideal winter tourism destination,” said the Minister.