Visitor arrivals by air and sea hit a record 3.3 million in 2012, up 7.4 per cent year-on-year, according to newly released tourism data.
Arrivals in 2011 amounted to 3.07 million. Tourist visits also hit the three million mark in 2006.
The bulk of last year's increase came from cruise passenger growth, up 17 per cent, mainly due to the newest port in Trelawny, the Falmouth Cruise Pier, built over a year ago. Total visitors by sea amounted to 1.34 million.
Air passengers staying overnight or stopover arrivals increased marginally by 1.8 per cent to 1.98 million.
Geographically, a rise in Canadian and US visitors balanced the decline in United Kingdom/Europe, down 16.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively. Canada's growth, however, waned a bit from its previous double-digit growth.
"Cumulatively, the Canadian market main-tained its positive growth during the January to December 2012 period with 6.4 per cent more visitors than in the corresponding period of 2011," stated the monthly statistical report published by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
In 2012, some 403,200 Canadian visitors stayed in Jamaica compared to some 378,900 that visited during the same period in 2011. The top visitor-producing provinces remained Ontario whilst Quebec was flat, the JTB report said.
Jamaica currently ranks as one of the fastest-growing cruise destination in the Caribbean, based on the pull of the Falmouth Pier. Some 44 per cent of all cruise visitors docked at the Falmouth Pier; one-third at Ocho Rios; and one-quarter at Montego Bay.
Tourism, Jamaica's second-largest earner of foreign exchange, contributed some US$2 billion to the economy in 2011, but expenditure figures for 2012 were undisclosed in the JTB monthly report.