Jamaica looks toward South America for tourism growth

Leading members of the Jamaican establishment have called on the destination to look toward South America in order to boost visitor numbers.

With holidaymakers from the United Kingdom, the biggest source market for Jamaica outside of North America, hit by Air Passenger Duty, prime minister Bruce Golding and tourism minister Ed Bartlett have called for a change of focus.

Speaking at the recent Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) in Montego Bay Golding called South America the “new tourism frontier”.

“We have some new and some exciting members of the family who are joining us this year in a special way and in a special capacity – South America.

“What a wonderful new frontier that we are now annexing.”

Golding recently confirmed he would step down from the post of prime minister in November after four years in power.

A statement by the Labour Party said the challenges of power had taken a toll on Golding and that he would make way for a new leader from within the party.

Looking forward, Bartlett added: “Jamaica is looking to tap the South American market to help offset the decrease in traffic from its traditional market.

“The good news is South America is starting with 20,000 seats for this coming winter.

“And we are bringing new airlines to join in the already exciting array of airlines that come to this destination. Bringing in addition to the 1.95 stopovers last year, the additional team that we need the 2 million arrivals mark,” he added during the two-day travel exhibition.

For the tourism minister, JAPEX is an indicator of how the island nation’s travel and tourism industry will perform in the next coming months.

He especially elated that this year’s JAPEX edition attracted record numbers.

He told delegates: “Thank you for coming out in record numbers this year to our trade show. Among other things, it gives us a feel as to what our winter season is going to be and what the year ahead is going to be.

“I am satisfied that the winter 2011-2012 will be the best Jamaica has had in many, many years.”

World Travel Awards

Also on the horizon for Jamaica is the return of World Travel Awards, which will be hosted by Sandals Resorts in October.

The annual Caribbean & the Americas Gala Ceremony will take place at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on October 19th, with hundreds of leading industry figures from across the region expected to attend.