Record tourist arrivals expected for 2015

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The lobby group Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) expects the growth in visitors from the US and Europe to result in record arrivals for the island in 2015. Already arrivals by sea and air increased for the first half of 2015 to 1.93 million or 6.3 per cent higher year on year despite declines from Canada, the third largest source market. The growth puts the island on a path to record arrivals. Jamaica welcomed 3.5 million visitors to the island in 2014 who spent some US$2.2 billion or 6.4 per cent more year on year.

“We have seen the fall-off in Canada but we expect growth from the other markets,” stated Nicola Madden-Greig in a phone interview with the Jamaica Observer. “The US is performing and UK is also performing.”

When disaggregating the data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), arrivals by sea and air are up 11.6 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively for the year to date compared with a year ago. The JHTA hopes that the campaigns like ‘Fall in Jamaica’ will spur travel for the remainder of the year.

“This is the time worldwide where there is aggressive pricing,” she said about the campaign which offers discounts from June until the start of the busy winter tourist season.

For the first six months of 2015, the US market increased 5.6 per cent with some 693,100 stopover visitors; Europe grew by 7.6 per cent to some 136,300 stopover visitors; while Canada declined 5.8 per cent to some 228,300 stopover visitors, according to the latest JTB data. In fact, the Canadian market suffered six consecutive months of decline in arrivals for 2015. During the January to June 2015 period foreign visitors stayed roughly 8.3 nights or the same level as in 2014, while non-resident Jamaicans stayed roughly 15.1 days compared to 15.8 days in 2014.

Between January and June 2015, the resort areas of Montego Bay, Negril, and Ocho Rios welcomed just over three-quarters of all stopover arrivals.

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