Tue | Nov 21, 2017

Jamaica targeting UK Diaspora as tourists

Published:Saturday | August 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera
Bartlett

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica's tourism officials are placing special focus on the UK diaspora market as the country positions itself to surpass its greatest Caribbean competitor, Barbados.

"The diaspora represents 11 per cent of all arrivals and, globally, is the fourth largest source market after the USA, Canada and the UK," said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

His comments come days after Jamaica wrapped up promotional efforts timed with the IAAF World Championships in London.

According to the minister, statistics show that the number of people who are Jamaican-British (either born in Jamaica or of Jamaican descent) is now estimated at around 800,000 in some quarters.

Bartlett noted: "The UK market has been doing progressively well, but there is always room for improvement. We are currently placing special focus on the diaspora, as it is a major market for Jamaica."

Last year, Jamaica saw 210,000 visitors from the United Kingdom, putting it in a position to surpass Barbados as the Caribbean's leading destination for British tourists. Statistics further outline that persons from the UK visiting friends and family or for business reasons increased by nearly 19 per cent last year and currently represent 25.9 per cent of arrivals from the country.

'Windrush in Reverse'

Jamaica's tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has tagged his latest vision for attracting more tourist from the UK diaspora into the island as 'Windrush in Reverse'. His Windrush reference points to the Empire Windrush ship, best remembered today for bringing one of the first large groups of post-war Caribbean immigrants to the United Kingdom. It carried 492 passengers and one stowaway on a voyage from Jamaica to London in 1948.

English-speaking Caribbean people who arrived in the UK in the period after World War II are generally referred to as the Windrush generation.

"It is our hope that with our renewed marketing effort and the constant improvements we are making to the local tourism product, we will produce much better results in terms of visitor arrivals and earning from that sector," explained the minister.

He is anticipating that the Jamaica Tourist Board's efforts to secure an increase in arrivals from the UK market will be bolstered next summer as the diaspora acknowledges the 70th anniversary of the MV Empire Windrush ship.

"Today, that migration has spawned a population of several hundreds of thousands of Britons with very strong Jamaican heritage, and many are more than willing to travel to Jamaica. We will work with our many travel partners to make that easier for them to do" said Bartlett in a media release.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com