After an extraordinary year for Jamaica, during which it celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence alongside sporting triumphs, the sunny island looks set to continue attracting new and repeat visitors in 2013.
A number of new tourism developments, including new hotel developments and new airlift, look set to take place over the coming months.
Hon. Wykeham McNeill, tourism minister commented: “There’s a lot of interest in room development, we expect to see some new hotels coming to Jamaica.
“This year we expect a Courtyard Marriot to break ground in Kingston. We have some other properties that are there - The Fiesta Group are going to be expanding their hotel by 850 rooms.”
He added: “The Riu is opening a Riu Palace in Montego Bay and the Sunwing Group have just taken over a property in Trilawny which they will re-brand, refurbish the 250 rooms and they are hoping to expand.
In all we are looking at close to 2,000 rooms that are going to be under construction over the next two years so it’s looking very promising. Some will certainly be opened in the next two years. Hopefully they should be open for the winter season next year.”
Meanwhile Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston, is set to benefit from an increase in its airlift capacity with the introduction of Fly Jamaica’s service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Fly Jamaica will operate four weekly flights on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays. Flights will depart Kingston at 06:15, arriving at JFK at 10:00, and depart JFK Terminal One at 11:50, arriving Kingston at 15:40.
“We welcome the start of Fly Jamaica’s service to Kingston. This new service provides a well-needed boost in our ongoing efforts to provide increased access to Jamaica particularly Kingston, our business hub,” said Jamaica’s director of tourism John Lynch.
“We wish the airline every success as they serve key target markets in the greater New York area.”
Fly Jamaica will serve the route with a Boeing 757 which seats 198 passengers, including 12 Business Class seats and 186 Economy Class seats.
Business Class passengers will enjoy a baggage allowance of two bags at 70lbs each, while those in Economy will be allowed two bags at 55lbs each.
Meanwhile, in an ongoing effort to secure airlift from new and emerging markets, Jamaica recently welcomed two inaugural flights from Eastern Europe into its tourist capital, Montego Bay.
“We’ll continue to develop partnerships in new markets such as Russia and the Czech Republic, making Jamaica even more accessible for today’s global traveller” added Lynch.
“These new flights from Moscow and Prague extend our reach as we endeavour to welcome more travellers from around the world to experience our island.”
Exim Tours, a Czech Republic tour operator, has designated 100 seats for Jamaica over 12 rotations.
The charter service out of Russia is a partnership between tour operator Biblio Globus and Transearo Airlines, Russia’s second largest carrier.
For more information on visiting Jamaica head over to Visit Jamaica.