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UK tourist stopover arrivals on the rise

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill, greets renowned travel writer Edith Baxter of Baxter Travel during the Caribbean Travel Marketplace now on the Montego Bay Convention Centre. - Photo by Claudia Gardner

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


Against the background of a resurgence in local tourism investment, stopover arrivals out of the United Kingdom have bounced back, resulting in a growth of 4.3 per cent above last year's performance year to date.

This follows a five-year decline of that market.

Addressing the media during a luncheon at the Half Moon, A Rock Resort, in Montego Bay, St James, yesterday, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill, said the resurgence was evidenced by arrivals into the country last summer.

"Building on that, there is an expectation that we will do well in that market this year," he stated.

His comments come in the wake of an additional number of charter and scheduled flights operated by TUI (Thomson), Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.

"The arrivals in the last six months have been up by 20 per cent," Elizabeth Fox, regional director of the Jamaica Tourist Board UK, told The Gleaner.

UK economy improved

According to Fox the UK economy has improved considerably, and Jamaica capitalised on this by doing some promotions with tour operators which worked.

"We spent a bit of money and it worked," she emphasised, adding that the rebranding of the destination also worked in the country's favour.

"Our Get Alright campaign is fresh, the colours are vibrant and colourful, connecting to the people," she noted.

In the meantime, British Airways has announced plans for an additional flight out of that country into Kingston, bringing its total weekly flights to four.

Effective March 30, British Airways will fly from London, Gatwick to Kingston on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, each week.

Between January to November 2013, there were 34,096 British Airways passengers out of London, and McNeill is forecasting that the additional 334 seats per week from this new flight could potentially give the country an additional 17,368 visitors per year.