New figures have revealed the Caribbean holiday island of Jamaica has been weathering the global economic storm better than many of its competitors.
Recording a 3.9 per cent increase in global market share in 2009, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is predicting another bumper performance in 2010; with the island’s minister for tourism, Ed Bartlett, predicting a six per cent growth in tourism arrivals this year.
The UK market has been one of the main driving forces behind this success; with nearly 200,000 sun seeking Britons choosing the island in 2009.
This represents nearly ten per cent of all visits to the island from overseas guests.
While the figure is slightly down on the previous year, Jamaica – which was recognised as the Caribbean’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards last year – is far from disheartened.
“In the world of travel, flat is the new black at the moment,” explained Elizabeth Fox, Jamaica Tourist Board’s UK regional director. “We feel quite positive about the year ahead and expect to see at least a six per cent rise in tourism.”
The predicted rise is due to several factors. These include the increase in air capacity to the island – with British Airways recently adding twice weekly direct flights – and the minister of tourism’s commitment to spending resources on sprucing up airports, roads and resort areas.
Added air lift
AirTran Airways has being doing its bit to support tourism to Jamaica, launching new services from the American cities of Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando recently.
The low-cost American carrier will now offer daily flights from Atlanta and Baltimore, while the Orlando service will depart four times a week – making it even easier for international visitors to head for the sun.
The initial arrival on each of these new routes was welcomed to Montego Bay with a ceremonial water arch last month, with passengers greeted with a mento band, welcome beads and a special reception with Jamaica’s minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett.
Mr Bartlett enthused: “With more than 150 attractions, an assortment of accommodations from rustic to luxurious and natural beauty that ranges from the crystal blue Caribbean Sea to the lush Blue Mountains, Jamaica has something for everyone.”
Journey times can reach a maximum of three-and-a-half hours – making the holiday destination an ideal location for a short break from the US.
“We are extremely excited to be starting new service to Montego Bay, Jamaica,” added Roger Morenc, director of revenue management for AirTran Airways.
“Our passengers can enjoy low fares and high-quality service to one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean,” he concluded.