Jamaican tourism minister Edmund Bartlett has revealed the cabinet has approved an easing of travel restrictions for Colombians visiting the Caribbean destination.
The move is designed to boost tourist arrivals from South America as part of a wider campaign to attract visitors from the region.
Bartlett outlined: “Cabinet has approved the conditional waiver of visas for Colombian nationals on visit to Jamaica for thirty days or less and for tourism purposes.”
He added: “Under the current regime Jamaicans travelling to Colombia do not need a visa, however outside of diplomats Colombians require visas to travel to Jamaica.
“Hence this initiative will facilitate reciprocity and easier passage for our Colombian visitors.”
The minister also emphasized the move formed part of our ongoing marketing thrust to attract tourists out of South America as a “key element” in a strategy to boost tourist arrivals by tapping into emerging markets.
Attracting visitors from Brazil, Russia, India and China, commonly referred to as the BRIC countries, was also high on the agenda, the minister added.
“We are also currently reviewing our arrangements with other countries to determine what additional steps could be taken to facilitate the seamless passage of visitors,” added Bartlett.
In welcoming the waiver, director of tourism and chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch, said: “This arrangement will certainly enhance our marketing initiative in Colombia and bolster our efforts to increase tourist arrivals from that country.
“It will also complement steps we have taken to improve airlift and increase the number of new airline seats out of Colombia.”
Earlier this year Jamaica secured some 10,000 new airline seats out of the burgeoning South America travel market, further brightening the prospects for growing tourist arrivals to Jamaica.
In August the JTB and Copa Airlines announced a new flight service between Tocumen International Airport in Panama City and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Copa flights through Panama City into Montego Bay will be available from 58 cities in North, Central and South America.
Jamaica is considered the Caribbean’s Leading Destination by the prestigious World Travel Awards.