Visitors pour in despite economic woes
Published: Tuesday | December 23, 2008
Roan Earle (left), along with his son Alexander, twin daughters Anna and Ashley (second right) and wife Charmaine (right), arrives yesterday at the Norman Manley International Airport from Los Angeles to spend Christmas in Jamaica. - Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer
DESPITE THE global economic crisis, some returning residents and first-timers have still chosen to make Jamaica their destination of travel, flocking to the island to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year.
Although the number of persons present at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday afternoon did not appear to exceed 200, a festive vibe could be felt as visitors reunited with friends and family members.
Twenty-four-year-old Melody Sam, from Washington, DC, in the United States, will be spending Christmas in Jamaica for the first time. Sam, who travelled with her boyfriend, said she was anticipating a fun-filled week as she vacations in the Caribbean.
"I am looking forward to touring the island and seeing the sights. I have heard a lot of good things about Jamaica, so I'm looking forward to it," she said.
Bridget Brimm, Air Jamaica customer-care service agent, said that although inbound flights were full, the traffic of visitors had significantly reduced when compared to the same period last year.
Brimm suggested that due to the financial turmoil affecting major economies, persons were tightening their purse strings.
"The general mood is excitement because it is Christmas, but it's not as much as it was in past years. In fact, it's a little subdued."
Roan and Charmaine Earle started their journey in Los Angeles with their family of three children. Despite experiencing long delays, the family, which vacations in the island twice a year, was anxious to start the holiday.
"We will be spending the holiday with our families, eat some Jamaican food, stock up on some patties and meet my mother and father and parents-in-law," he said.