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Sweden trending as most important source market from Europe

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:00 AM
A relaxed and rustic side of the beaches in Negril.

Sweden trending as most important source market from Europe

Steven Jackson

Senior Business Reporter

The typical European visitor to Jamaica now speaks Swedish rather than German.

Visitors from Sweden

are now trending as the

largest source market from continental Europe, surpassing Germany and Italy, based on the rapid addition of chartered flights.

Swedes now account for the fourth-largest source market to Jamaica, following United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Sweden took the continental lead in December and January with arrivals totalling 5,300, compared to 4,200 for Germany and 3,000 for Italy, according to the latest Jamaica Tourist Board data.

Over the last four years, arrivals from Sweden quadrupled from 2,000 annually in 2012 to 8,700 in 2015. In January alone, the Northern European visitors increased arrivals 40 per cent.

Europeans are known to frequent bed and breakfast establishments rather than all-inclusive resorts. But hostels like Nanook Enterprises Limited, based in Kingston, are yet to see a booking spike from Sweden or persons hanging out at its cultural shows.

For us, "it's Germans first and the French second," said attorney Joan Webley, chief executive and founder of Nanook, a former participant in the Branson Caribbean Centre of Entrepreneurship business accelerator programme.

Germany usually dominates arrivals from continental Europe, but every so often tour companies add chartered flights which drive arrivals from otherwise small source territories.

Roughly 90 per cent of all arrivals from Sweden came on chartered airlines. It is reminiscent of previous years in which charters increased arrivals from Russia and France, but later waned.

Jamaica earns roughly US$2 billion from tourism arrivals per annum.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com