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Jamaica Beyond Rum and Reggae

For Jamaica, there’s a new tourism frontier

Nelson Alcantara, eTN editor-in-chief  Sep 29, 2011

At the recently held Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) in Montego Bay, both Jamaica’s tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett and the island nation’s prime minister, Bruce Golding, have called South America as the country’s “new tourism frontier.”

At an address during the two-day travel exhibition, Tourism Minister Bartlett said: “We have some new and some exciting members of the family who are joining us this year in a special way and in a special capacity – South America. What a wonderful new frontier that we are now annexing.”

Jamaica is looking to tap the South American market to help offset the decrease in traffic from its traditional market. Bartlett said: “The good news is that they [South America] are starting with 20,000 seats for this coming winter. And we are bringing new airlines to join in the already exciting array of airlines that come to this destination. Bringing in addition to the 1.95 stopovers last year, the additional team that we need the 2 million arrivals mark.”

The minister added: “When we have done that, which we will do this year, our cruise would have gone to 1.3 million and Jamaica would have for the first time of history of total arrival of pretty close to 3.3 million visitors in a single year.”

The minister told JAPEX delegates, “With your help, we are going to go beyond the 2 billion earnings in foreign exchange.”

The tourism minister also credited Wayne Cummings, former president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, for Jamaica’s recent achievements in tourism. “Thanks you very much for making Jamaica grow and grow every year durng the recession. A feat no other destination in the English-speaking Caribbean has been able to achieve. Jamaica is the only destination that grew every year during the recession. Last year, Jamaica grew by 5 percent and is trending at 5.7 percent by the end of August this year.”

For the tourism minister, JAPEX is an indicator of how the island nation’s travel and tourism industry will perform in the next coming months. He especially elated that this year’s JAPEX edition attracted record numbers. He told delegates: “Thank you for coming out in record numbers this year to our trade show. Among other things, it gives us a feel as to what our winter season is going to be and what the year ahead is going to be. I am satisfied that the winter 2011-2012 will be the best Jamaica has had in many, many years.”

For Jamaica, there’s a new tourism frontier
photo by Nelson Alcantara

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