Ja eyes Peru tourism pact as historic flight lands in MoBay
With LATAM Airlines committed to three flights per week to Jamaica from the lucrative South American market, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is predicting that the pie will get even bigger with a multi-destination arrangement with Peru.
Addressing business and tourism interests at a welcoming ceremony for the inaugural flight at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James, yesterday, the minister said that both countries are in the process of crafting a reciprocal multi-destination arrangement to provide access to emerging markets.
“I met with the [Peruvian] minister of tourism and we discussed multi-destination tourism. We discussed it in the context of what really needs to continue to happen in the region to enable access from emerging markets in particular that are far away and people who have longer vacation time and require multiple experiences,” Bartlett explained.
He said that under such an arrangement, Jamaica would provide a crucial complement to Peru, which is devoid of the white sandy beaches that exist here, and would provide Jamaica access to tourists from other South American countries, with Lima being a key gateway.
“Peru and Jamaica are a natural fit. Our cultural similarities are unbelievable – the food, Jamaica and Peru are among the top gastronomy destinations around. But what we have that Peru doesn’t have is the pristine turquoise waters that bathe the Caribbean shores. We are going to play the role in being partners in creating one package,” he said.
He stated that the discussions will continue between the Jamaica Tourist Board and the authorities in Peru, along with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), which is expected to develop packages that will sell one destination with many experiences.
Paola Penarete, LATAM Airlines’ vice-president for North America, Caribbean and Asia, said she was thrilled at the energy and the passion of the tourism officials in Jamaica. She also said 54,000 seats will be sold per year and it is expected that more than 44,000 passengers will be transported between both countries. She said the inaugural flight, which lasted for five hours, was the culmination of tremendous efforts to get airlift from Peru to Jamaica.
“Montego Bay is LATAM’s 35th international destination from Lima, and so we have been trying real hard to connect South America in a seamless way ... . We are making history ... . It is the first time we have an airline operating non-stop from Jamaica to South America; that’s quite a treat,” she said.
The flights will operate three times per week – Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays – departing Lima at 12:15 arriving Montego Bay at 5:07.
On the return leg, the flight departs at 6 p.m. and arrives in Lima at 10:45 p.m.