Travellers expect more for their money - PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says travellers today are a lot more sophisticated and are expecting more for their tourism dollars.
Holness, who was giving the keynote address at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James yesterday, added that tourism-dependent countries should wake up to that reality.
"There has been somewhat of a revolution in travel in terms of how people book, places they want to stay, and what they want to experience," he noted.
"We are very cognisant of this and understand that we must also change. Travel facilitation is at the core of developing tourism and unlocking its socio-economic benefits," the Prime Minister argued.
Holness suggested that countries should start placing emphasis on "how we market our destination and on finding new markets".
Emphasis on markets
"Recently, Jamaica has been placing renewed emphasis on revitalising some markets and on introducing new direct airlifts, such as from Poland," he pointed out.
"In fact, Jamaica recorded a phenomenal 91.3 per cent increase in stopover visitor arrivals from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)-defined Southern and Western Europe region for the month of September 2017, over the same period last year," Holness noted.
He reported that for the 10 months of 2017, there was a seven per cent increase in stopover arrivals in comparison to the corresponding period for 2016.
The Prime Minister also noted that cruise passenger arrivals were up 12.7 per cent for January to October, and that from a total of 3,394,472 visitors in that 10-month period, Jamaica earned US$2.332 billion or 10.2 per cent more in gross foreign exchange earnings than the US$2.115 billion earned last year over the same period.
"In addition to increasing airlift capacity and new destinations, we are also looking at our infrastructure in terms of ease of access throughout the island," . Holness said.
Artisan village planned for Falmouth
The Prime Minister cited road improvement, including the Montego Bay bypass; revitalisation of Ocho Rios is planned; and $1.9 million has been earmarked for the redevelopment of the boardwalk/promenade from the marina to Ocho Rios Bay Beach, and the upgrade of Main Street.
He said that as part of an overall strategy, there will be better organisation of traffic management in the cruise-ship areas, so that passengers can leave the ship and the port in a more structured manner.
Holness added that an artisan village is planned for Falmouth in Trelawny, which will offer space for craft vendors.
"The Government continues to take concrete steps to expand our tourism product and to create more opportunities that will improve the livelihood of Jamaicans," he said.