MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Jamaica experienced a 3.6 percent increase from January-December 2009 in tourist arrivals, compared to the same period in 2008, and is off to a promising start for 2010. The announcement was made by Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch during the third annual Tourism Outlook Seminar currently taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, located in the resort capital of Montego Bay. Director Lynch was presenting Jamaica’s Roadmap to Growth in the Current Landscape which formed part of the Maintaining the Competitive Edge session.
“Given the current global economic environment, a 3.6 percent growth is a commendable accomplishment for Jamaica,” noted Director Lynch. “In order to achieve this level of growth, we had to devise strategies to weather the challenges of the economic climate and capitalize on opportunities in the industry as they arise. Our successful relationships with our hoteliers, attractions providers, transport providers and others partners also contributed to this favorable result.”
According to Director Lynch, as the global tourist industry continued to grapple with the economic realities, new industry trends identified the need to be proactive and responsive to the evolving economy. Apart from employing strategies to ensure that Jamaica remained visible to consumers and trade, the Jamaica Tourist Board worked to expand the market through connectivity, especially partnerships with US Legacy carriers in an effort to increase airlift to the destination.
JetBlue Airways recently began service from Boston (BOS) to Montego Bay (MBJ) on January 9, 2010 and will commence service form Orlando (MCO) to MBJ on February 8, 2010. This came on the heels of the airline’s inaugural Jamaica service between New York (JFK) and MBJ in May 2009, the airline’s most successful Caribbean launch to date. JetBlue also began service between JFK and Kingston in October 2009.
AirTran Airways is also set to begin serving the island’s tourist capital Montego Bay. New nonstop service departs from Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando gateways to Montego Bay on February 11, 2010.
Additionally, US Airways introduced nonstop flights from Phoenix to Montego Bay in December 2009, opening up more western gateways to convenient one-stop connectivity to Jamaica.
Due these new, and continued, partnerships with major US carriers Jamaica has approximately 1 million available air seats (scheduled and chartered) to facilitate travel to the destination from all major cities in the US this winter season.
Jamaica’s tourism looks to be off to a good start this year, as provisional figures for January 2010 indicate an increase of 8.4 percent, on track to be the most successful January ever. In order to continue the momentum and attempt to lessen the impact of the world’s economic challenges, Director Lynch revealed that further opportunities for growth will be explored. From capitalizing on the development of the new cruise ship pier in Falmouth to securing additional airlift to service the destination, Jamaica will continue to build on its strengths while remaining responsive to changes in order to remain competitive in an ever evolving climate.
The third annual Tourism Outlook Seminar serves as a platform where regional and global industry leaders join their local counterparts in Jamaica to discuss a range of key issues relating to travel and tourism. The theme of this year’s seminar is Challenges, Changes & Opportunities in Tourism – Rising Above the Current Global Economic Landscape, and it takes place February 2-3, 2010.