The Jamaican government has waived visa requirements for nationals of Russia, the Chez Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine visiting the island for tourism and cultural exchange for periods of 30 days or less.
In addition, Cabinet has approved the indefinite extension of the current visa waiver requirement in place for nationals of Columbia, Panama, and Venezuela.
This will be subject to the outcome of periodic reviews of the situation, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment said in a release today.
“This is all tremendous news as we continue to make positive headway towards removing barriers to travel while creating ease of access to visitors from these new and emerging market frontiers Jamaica is so aggressively forging into,” Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr. Wykeham McNeill said.
He said “the continued removal of the barriers to travel, such as improving the visa regimes, is all a part of our strategy to diversify our markets while improving airlift security. These initiatives will certainly work towards the expansion of the tourist industry."
Dr. McNeill noted that having waived visa requirements for nationals from Columbia, Panama, and Venezuela, promotional efforts to grow the Latin American market will continue, Copa having doubled its capacity from December 2012, with four flights per week using a larger aircraft. The flights are out of Panama City which is the major hub in Latin America.
On January 1, this year Jamaica welcomed the inaugural Transearo Airlines flight from Moscow to Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport with more than 300 passengers and crew from Russia.
The Ministry said visitors from the Russian market stay a minimum of 10 nights, twice the average stay of visitors from traditional markets such as the United States.
“It is anticipated that this will provide significant returns through increased visitor spending,” the Ministry said.
Transearo Airlines is Russia’s second largest carrier and flies to 40 countries on 130 routes and has hubs in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The airline operates flights between Moscow and Belorussia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.