Tourism earns US$1.46 billion for Jamaica in six months

Tourism earns US$1.46 billion for Jamaica in six months

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Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett emphasises a point while addressing journalists at Wednesday’s (July 19) post-Cabinet media briefing. JIS Photo

By Douglas McIntosh July 20, 2017

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Jamaica generated US$1.46 billion in tourism earnings during the first six months of the 2017 calendar year to record an impressive 7.5 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2016.

Additionally, the country welcomed 2,165,330 visitors up to the end of June this year, which was 3.9 percent higher than the corresponding period in 2016.

These included 1,186,646 stopover visitors and 978,684 cruise passengers.

This was announced by tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing.

He also said that a record 104,098 stopover visitors arrived during the first two weeks of July, which represented a “massive” 14.9 percent increase over the corresponding period last year.

The minister said these out-turns indicated that the industry was, at the end of June, ahead of the government’s projected growth targets, aimed at increasing visitor arrivals to five million and generating US$5 billion in five years.

Jamaica welcomed 3.84 million visitors last year, which was four percent more than 2015. Last year’s arrivals included: 2.2 million stopover visitors and 1.66 million cruise passengers.

Bartlett said the cumulative out-turns for 2016 and the year-to-date indicated that “we really would be looking at a 5.5 percent increase and US$1.6 billion (in) earnings, which would be a little over an eight percent increase in earnings over the previous year.”

Of note, he said the industry’s growth averaged between eight and 11 percent for the first three months of the 2017/18 fiscal year, from April to June.

Bartlett advised that the out-turn for April was just over 10 percent; May, 8.7 percent; and June, 10.8 percent.

He said based on the 14.9 percent increase in visitor arrivals to date for July, he is optimistic that “we are definitely (going to be) in double digits.”

Bartlett said based on the support anticipated for upcoming events, such as the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference in Kingston and Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, growth for the overall four-month period between April and July will average over 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the minister has attributed the impressive out-turns to increasing visitor demand for goods and services provided by various sectors linked with tourism.

These, he said, include: agricultural supplies; nutraceuticals; and information and communications technology.

“Tourism brings demand and demand requires (significant) industry outputs; industry creates jobs and brings revenue and enrichment. So, this growth that we are talking about in tourism is catalytic, because it causes growth in many other areas,” Bartlett noted.

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