Jamaica: Tourism booms despite enhanced security measures

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Quick, aggressive and sustained interventions by the Edmund Bartlett led Ministry of Tourism and the Jamaica Tourist Board, to counter some effects of enhanced security measures implemented in the parish of St. James in January of this year, have proven successful.

The country recorded overall market growth of 5.4 percent for the first six months of the year, with stopover tourist arrivals increasing by 5.9 percent and cruise by 4.8 percent over the same period last year.

At a press conference, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, to announce the sector’s performance for the first six months of the year, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett said, “The strong on the ground marketing engagements which brought us face to face with key stakeholders here and around the world, by my team at the Ministry of Tourism and Jamaica Tourist Board has helped to not only stave off any fall out from these measures but increased growth in arrivals to our shores.” said Minister Bartlett.

“While the implementation of enhanced security measures did stir a whirlwind of concerns locally and internationally, particularly in the international press, several partners overseas welcomed the initiative as a necessary step and continue to support our nation’s security apparatus in their efforts to make Jamaica a safe place for all.” Minister Bartlett added.

For the period January to June 2018, Jamaica recorded over 1,253,236 million in stopover arrivals and 1,025,782 in cruise arrivals. This means over 100 thousand more tourists for the period and a sizeable increase in foreign exchange earnings.

Minister Bartlett said, “Of note is that the sector brought in US$1.556 billion in foreign exchange earnings which represents an increase of 7.3 percent. Stopover arrivals accounted for US$1.459.0billion in earnings up 7.2% and cruise US$100.6 million, an increase of 9.4%.”

In highlighting work done, Director of Tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board, Donovan White noted that “It has been all hands on deck as teams locally and overseas spread the message of destination Jamaica’s commitment to security and safety. As we ramp up digital marketing strategies among a range of other initiatives we are to improve on these figures.”

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.