Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Montego Bay magic - Resort town welcomes bulk of two million stop-over visitors this year

Published:Monday | December 30, 2013 | 12:00 AM
The history-making lucky couple who carried the country's stop-over visitors for 2013 to two million, Alexis (centre) and her husband, Craig Greiner, accepting their hotel stay and a book on Jamaica from Director of Tourism John Lynch (left), Junior Tourism Minister Damian Crawford (second left), and Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill during a reception welcoming them at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay yesterday afternoon. - Photo Janet Silvera

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


The tourism capital, Montego Bay, remains the most popular of the resort areas in Jamaica, accounting for the bulk of the two million stop-over arrivals that the island reached for the first time yesterday.

The resort town welcomed 32 per cent of the two million visitors, outpacing the former cruise-ship capital, Ocho Rios; the capital of casual, Negril; Mandeville; the south coast; and Port Antonio.

Statistics from the Jamaica Tourist Board show that Montego Bay welcomed more than 600,000 stop-over visitors this year.

The numbers were revealed to The Gleaner yesterday by Director of Tourism John Lynch during a welcome reception highlighting the two million stop-over visitors milestone at the Sangster International Airport.

Alexis Greiner and her husband, Craig, who arrived on American Airlines, Flight 380, from Miami, Florida, were met and fêted by tourism officials on arrival as they brought the visitor arrival to the magic number.

Alexis, a financial analyst, and Craig, a public relations consultant, who are vacationing at Jewel Runaway Bay in St Ann, were presented with gifts, including return tickets to the island courtesy of American Airlines and accommodation at the Grand Palladium Resort.

Boasting of the country's growing appeal, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill tagged the year "highly successful".

He said going forward, his team would be moving aggressively to harness the power of the industry to drive growth in other sectors by forging stronger and deeper linkages with tourism.

"We will continue our thrust into new markets, while working to build even greater momentum in our traditional markets," McNeill told the gathering.

The tourism minister had high praise for the staff in the hospitality sector.

"It is Jamaican people themselves who have infused Brand Jamaica with warmth, humour, and a unique flair for hospitality that remains unchallenged," said McNeill.

He argued that the island's geographic location, its natural beauty, its rich and vibrant culture, and its colourful history have all been factors in this success.

His comments were bolstered by President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association Evelyn Smith who said welcoming two million stop-over visitors in one year was indeed an important milestone as it was indicative of the growing appeal that Jamaica has in the global travel market.