Christmas tourist arrivals hit record high
Jamaica registered record stopover arrivals during the Christmas season, with history-making numbers of 60,886 tourists visiting the island between December 22 and 28.
During the same period last year, the country welcomed 52,000 visitors.
The latest numbers mark an 11.2 per cent increase over 2015, putting the country on track for significant growth in the sector, says Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
In line with the growth, revenue is up nine per cent over 2015, from January to November, with stopover earnings at US$2.13 billion, 5.8 per cent over last year, and cruise shipping at US$132.7 million, 12.7 per cent over the same period.
"Gross earning is US$2.3 billion, or 6.2 per cent, firmly on track to surpass all previous records, which could see us recording four million arrivals in 2016, a million shy of the five million projected for 2021," stated Bartlett.
"Cruise arrivals are up 12.7 per cent. We are getting more money from cruise shipping, money which goes to the pockets of the little people immediately, while stopover is up 5.8 per cent," said the minister.
CANADA BACK ON GROWTH PATH
Speaking from Florida, in the United States, yesterday, Bartlett said Canada, once the country's second-largest source market, which dropped by 11 per cent up to April this year, has shown a new burst of energy, and in the month of November, was up 2.2 per cent in arrivals.
Acknowledging that the North American gateway will close out the year flat, he noted that the haemorrhaging from that region has been cauterised.
"Canada is back on the growth path. The 11 per cent decline we had up to April is expected to be wiped out by year end," he projected.
Bartlett is crediting the increase to new airlift arrangements of 293,000 seats, a four per cent increase over 2015. In addition, a number of new rooms have come on board, including the new RIU Reggae, DeCameron Cornwall, and Sandals Royal Caribbean Overwater Suites, as well as Royalton Blue Waters in Montego Bay, which all opened their doors between mid-November and early December.
Year-to-date performance in stopover arrivals is at 1.95 million, and cruise, 1.47 million. Combined, the two represent a 5.6 per cent increase in tourist arrivals to the island.