Sat | Nov 17, 2018

PM revises tourist arrival figures from five to six million

Published:Monday | October 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has upped tourist arrival projection to 6 million tourists by the end of the 2021. The figure is one million more than the previous projection of five million visitors by Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett recently. The prime minister was speaking at last Thursday's official opening of the Excellence Oyster Bay Hotel in Trelawny.

"I must formally commend Minister Bartlett and his team at the Ministry of Tourism for the stellar work they continue to do in improving Jamaica's tourism product,"

"I also challenge Minister Bartlett and his team to be even more aggressive and ambitious , given the favourable macroeconomic conditions that now obtains in the economy."

The prime minister continued: "So, we won't be talking about five million visitors by 2021, we will up that to six million visitors".

"It can be done, minister, it can be done. Jamaica is committed to attracting five million tourists by 2021 and the way in which we are going, Ed, I believe we can do it long before then."

Two years ago, Bartlett announced the five-by-five-by-five growth target for the ministry and its agencies, which is designed to grow tourism's contribution to the economy to five million visitors over a five-year period, generating earnings of US$5 billion.

However, last year Jamaica saw an unprecedented 4.3 million visitors, which translated to US$3 billion in foreign exchange earnings. The ministry projects that by the end of this year, Jamaica will earn US$3.3 billion.

Earnings outpace arrivals

Those predictions mirror the preliminary data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), which show that foreign exchange earnings are outpacing arrival figures by 10 per cent.

"It is not just the experience at the gate of the property and inside the property, but the moment that you land on our soil as a visitor, you must feel welcome," said Holness.

"You must see the seamless connectivity, the ease of mobility, the feel of security and safety and so. The Government of Jamaica is doing everything within its powers to ensure that the visitor has a seamless, safe and secure experience along with the sun, sea and sand."

The Excellence Oyster Bay Hotel, which was constructed at a cost of US$110 million, is expected to further position the parish of Trelawny prominently as a tourist destination. Trelawny is already the hub of the nation's cruise shipping. The new hotel is a 315-suite, adult-only resort located just outside of Falmouth.