Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
The spin-off from athletics superstar Usain Bolt's exploits at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England could counter the expected fall-off in visitors from the United States (US), who generally show a reluctance to travel during the presidential election season in their country.
Director of Tourism John Lynch said while the election period in the US could spell some painful days for Jamaica, the island has begun to gain traction in the United Kingdom (UK) market and should see a boost in arrival figures.
"I am encouraged by the UK, in particular, which is doing well," said Lynch. "We have the 'Bolt bounce' over there and the airlines are pretty bullish. We have extra seats coming out of the United Kingdom with Virgin Atlantic adding a non-stop service."
He added: "Touristik Union International, the largest tour operator in the world, now operates three flights all year round, and for the winter, they are adding a second Gatwick flight, which will come every two weeks … . Come May, when we get into the summer months, they will put it weekly, so there will be four flights."
Despite the general lack of enthusiasm because of the upcoming US election, Lynch noted that Delta Airlines would be introducing non-stop daily flights out of John F. Kennedy International Airport to Jamaica starting in December.
"Once we get the election over and America settles down, we will be OK," stated Lynch.