Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Robust arrivals from USA for Winter tourist season

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 12:00 AMDave Rodney
Tourism director Paul Pennicook.
JTB's deputy director of tourism for USA & Latin America Donnie Dawson - "We promised to take back the streets, and we did".

Tourist arrival figures are just in for the 2015 winter season, and Jamaica's largest leisure market, the United States (US), has registered overall growth of 9.1 per cent over the same period - January to April of 2014.

The island attracted 445,000 stopover visitors from the US this season, compared to the January-to-April period last year that pulled in 408,000.

Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) executives as well as local hoteliers are upbeat about the strong arrival figures.

All major regional markets across the US are showing impressive growth, and one region, the South, is showing a double-digit increase.

"Jamaica has had a very positive performance in visitor arrivals this winter," tourism director Paul Pennicook told The Gleaner. "For the period January to April 2015, stopover arrivals to Jamaica are up 4.9 per cent from all countries. Our number-one market, the US, was up 9.1 per cent over the same period last year with all regions of the US showing an increase over previous years, and we are anticipating continued positive momentum, particularly from the US market, for the rest of the year," he added.


aggressive sales strategies


During the January to April period this year, the north-eastern US was up 9.6 per cent; the Midwest, seven per cent; the south, 11.1 per cent; and the west, 7.6 per cent.

Deputy Director of Tourism Donnie Dawson, who heads the US and Latin America sales team, attributes the growth to a number of aggressive sales and marketing strategies that were implemented last fall called 'Taking Back The Streets'. That campaign involved a renewed effort to reach out to retail travel agents.

All of the JTB's business development managers were required to pound the pavement, more seminars and webinars were conducted that connected with thousands of agents nationally, and there was a closer collaboration with airline partners to drive business, among other measures.

"My very effective and hard-working team and I are pleased with the recent growth, and our strong efforts will continue to maintain this momentum," Dawson said.

"We promised to take back the streets, and we did."

Dawson also pointed out that two of his managers, Marcia Sinclair, district sales manager for the North-east, and Mark McDermoth, business development manager in the Midwest, tied for first place in Travel Agent Magazine's Top Supplier Sales Representatives awards in the International Tourist Board category.