Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett says that the projected expansion projects in Kingston, as well as those currently underway are a signal of the City’s potential to be the primary hub of the Northern Caribbean.
The Minister made this announcement yesterday, during the inaugural Caribbean Airlines flight from Kingston to Grand Cayman.
“With the changes that have taken place in Kingston and the expansion we are anticipating, we are hoping that Kingston will become a hub for the Northern Caribbean so that connectivity – between Jamaica and Havana, Santiago, Cancun – can be achieved from here. I think Caribbean Airlines is well positioned to be that carrier that makes those connections, utilizing Kingston as a hub,” said the Minister.
This is a sentiment shared by the airline’s CEO, Garvin Medera, who said, “Caribbean Airlines has a clear vision to connect the region, which is a major element in strengthening our Caribbean identity.”
The Minister shared that currently the region is growing at 6.1%, but lack of connectivity within the Caribbean has hindered tourism arrivals to grow to double digits.
“Today’s flight to Grand Cayman is expanding the airline’s range of connectivity and is helping to sunder those dividing elements that prevent us from connecting. The 300 additional seats to Jamaica, with two weekly rotations, add a significant amount to the growing number of seats that are coming on stream,” said the Minister.
Improved air connectivity is one of the Minister’s pillars in achieving growth in the industry. Under this growth strategy, his Ministry is aggressively implementing strategies to attract five million visitors by 2021, generate US$5 billion in tourism earnings, increase the total direct jobs to 125,000, and add 15,000 new hotel rooms.
The Ministry has also been pursuing new and emerging markets whilst maintaining traditional ones through airlift arrangements.
According to data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the island has increased seats out of the USA by 79,522, Canada by 21,418, the Caribbean by 15,280, and Latin America by 8,280. However, Jamaica is down from UK/Europe but overall the country is looking at an additional 98,676 seats for the season.
As it relates to the Caribbean, over the last three years, Jamaica has seen increased year on year growth. For 2019, Jamaica has so far seen a 6.1 percent increase in visitors from the region.
This new flight from Caribbean Airlines will now make an impressive 22 destinations for Caribbean Airlines, which already has over 600 weekly flights in the Caribbean and North and South America. It will include two departures from either destination per week – Tuesdays and Saturdays – between December 17 and March 28.