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Visitor arrivals trend up

Published:Friday | May 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


Jamaica's visitor arrivals grew by 19.9 per cent between December 15 and April 15, but the country still faces the challenge of airlift, says Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill.

Addressing members of the media during a press briefing yesterday morning at the Ministry of Tourism in Kingston, McNeill said cruise shipping enjoyed double-digit growth, while land-based saw an increase of one per cent.

Statistics presented by the minister showed the country welcoming some 1.35 million visitors in total - 739,000 of them were land-based, and just under 610,000 cruise-ship passengers, an unprecedented 55.5 per cent increase.

The 1.35 million visitors contributed an estimated US$814 million to the economy, posting a 4.5 per cent increase in expenditure for the similar period last year.

He revealed that travel out of Europe was affected by the recent increase in the discriminatory air passenger duty and the ongoing recession in Europe, especially in Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

McNeill said he was expecting the upward trend to continue way into the summer and was projecting a two per cent growth in arrivals.