Jamaica has earned more than US$1 billion from the tourism industry so far this year, Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill said.
Speaking at the launch of Tourism Awareness Week 2012, McNeill said the earnings of US$1.7 billion represent a 3.2 per cent increase over the US$1.6 billion generated for the same period in 2011.
He said stopover visitor arrivals also grew this year, increasing by 2.4 per cent between January and October to stand at 1.7 million.
McNeill pointed out that those figures were evidence of the significant strides that Jamaica has made in efforts to tap into new markets, and expressed optimism that the country is poised for record arrivals next year.
"We anticipate 2013 to be a groundbreaking year for Jamaica, and we will continue to tap new markets for opportunities, while boosting destination marketing efforts in these markets," he said, adding that the authorities have been successful in arranging for new flights to boost tourist arrivals.
"For the winter tourist season, we will commence an inaugural non-stop flight from Moscow, Russia, starting January 1, 2013 into Montego Bay. We have also confirmed flight service from the Czech Republic, starting December 28. In addition, there will be non-stop service from Paris, France.
"Out of the United Kingdom, we will add another flight from Gatwick, London, that will become a weekly service starting in May 2013, while British Airways will maintain its three flights to Kingston, and Virgin Atlantic Airways its three flights to Montego Bay," McNeill said.
He said focus was also being placed on Latin America, while announcing that discussions with COPA Airlines have led to their confirming a doubling of their services from four to eight flights weekly into Jamaica beginning in the 2012 winter season.
"Approximately 1.1 million seats have already been secured for the upcoming winter tourist season. These visitors will come from our traditional markets, including the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as other markets such as Latin America."