Jamaica looks to new horizons

Jamaica looks to new horizons

Jamaica is setting its sights on untapped source markets such as Russia and Brazil in order to reach its goal of attracting two million stopover visitors to the island this year.

As Caribbean Marketplace 2011 drew to a successful close, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett highlighted the need to build non-traditional markets in order to take his island’s travel and tourism economy to the next level.

He says the marketing push is expected to earn Jamaica US$2 billion. He also set an aggressive target of five million visitors in five years.

The minister also told delegates at the two-day event in Montego Bay that Jamaica’s tourism economy appears to have weathered the global recession relatively unscathed.

The island saw 1.9 million arrivals in 2010, 4.7 percent higher than 2009, which in turn was a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Resurgent traditional source markets are credited with the growth due to improved air links and a brighter macro-economic outlook. Jamaica’s largest market, the United States, recorded 5.3 percent growth last year.

(Jamaica picked up a host of honours at the 2010 World Travel Awards including “Caribbean’s Leading Destination”. Pictured John Lynch, Director and Chairman, Jamaica Tourist Board; Hon Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism; Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards)

Bartlett described Canada as a “phenomenal” performing, growing 7 percent last year with 300,000 Canadians visiting.

The cruise market in particular in enjoying an unprecedented period of growth, reflected in Jamaica picking up “World’s Leading Cruise Destination” at the 2010 World Travel Awards.

The good form is set to continue this year with the opening of a new cruise terminal at Falmouth which will be able to accommodate Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest passenger ship.

(Jamaica was voted “World’s Leading Cruise Destination” at 2010 World Travel Awards)

Meanwhile, the Air Jamaica is scheduled to return to the skies in July and will focus on the leisure market.

Plans include a three times weekly service to London Heathrow, followed by a Toronto launch and then key points in the US.

The relaunch of Air Jamaica, which was bought out by Caribbean Airlines last year, will also help develop Jamaica’s reach in new markets, particularly South America, Bartlett said.

“Through Air Jamaica we are expecting initially to increase our reach, and then we will begin to develop new partnerships with airlines to make further routes in those areas,” he said.