KINGSTON — It was a busy summer indeed for Jamaica this year, with record-breaking stopover arrivals recorded from May to August.
According to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, who spoke at a press briefing at the Ministry of Tourism’s New Kingston office on Sept. 6, provisional estimates show stopover arrivals were up by 6% over the same period last year.
“It has definitely been our best summer ever. We had 884,324 visitors compared to the 834,292 from the period May to August in 2017. These figures contributed to total visitor arrivals (May to August) of 1,312,494, which was a 4.4% increase over the same period last year,” he said.
Bartlett added that preliminary data also shows earnings up to the end of August were over $2 billion. “Expenditure from tourists for the first eight months is $2.2 billion. We are trending well ahead of the $3 billion mark for the end of the calendar year.”
Provisional estimates indicate that between January-August 2018, the country welcomed 2,955,007 visitors, an increase of 4.7% over the same period last year. This figure comprised 1,714,060 stop over arrivals and 1,240,947 cruise visitors.
“The projections we made for growth last year was for 5% per annum for five years. Last year we broke all of that with 12%– that is a phenomenal achievement. We are excited about that prospect and we are seeing that we are going to get to that mark,” said Bartlett.
The Minister also disclosed that his Ministry intends to build on the successes of 2017, which saw 4.3 million visitors visiting the island. This was a 12.1% increase over 2016, with US$3 billion in revenue. It was also the first time in the country’s history that Jamaica welcomed more than 500,000 new visitors in a single calendar year.
“We do not want to take this success for granted and we are aggressively targeting new and traditional markets to attain double-digit growth and promote Jamaica as the ideal winter tourism destination,” said Bartlett.