1 million stopover tourist arrivals in five months
More than one million (1,025,997) stopover tourists visited Jamaica from January to May this year, representing a 5.5 per cent increase compared to the same period, last year, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett disclosed yesterday.
Cruise arrivals also recorded a 5.5 per cent increase for the same period, standing at 933,892, thus bringing total visitor arrivals figures to a record-breaking almost two million.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of Tourism yesterday, Bartlett noted that, "Having a million stopover tourist arrivals for the first five months of the year is truly unprecedented. These provisional estimates mean that over 52,000 more tourists arrived on our shores over the same period for 2017. It also means that we are on track to welcoming, at least, 4.6 million visitors for 2018, which is yet another record."
"Jamaica's tourism continues to prove itself to be resilient and robust," he said. "I am pleased that through the hard work of our team and sector workers, and continued diversification of our product to focus on experiential tourism, Jamaica remains a world-class destination that is highly sought after."
Bartlett noted the significant increase in foreign-exchange earnings for the period, which moved up by nine per cent to US$1.3 billion. He argued that as a main driver of economic growth, tourism was consistently showing its impact on economies locally, regionally and globally.
Record tourist arrivals of 4.3 million in 2017 represented a 12.1 per cent increase in arrivals over 2016, making it the first time that Jamaica increased overall visitor arrivals by 500,000 in a single calendar year. This figure comprised approximately 2.35 million stopover arrivals and 1.95 million cruise passengers. Revenue flows grew from US$2.5 billion in 2016 to a record of approximately US$3 billion.
The drive to increase tourist arrivals and revenue is in line with the Ministry of Tourism's 5x5x5 growth agenda, which aims to attract five million tourists by 2021; generate US$5 billion in earnings; increase total direct jobs to 125,000; and add 15,000 rooms.