TOURIST arrivals in Jamaica are projected to climb to 1.5 million visitors for the 2018-19 winter season, which ends later this month.
According to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, the record visitor arrivals — of which 900,000 are stopover visitors – should rake in US$1.6 million in revenue for the period December to April 2019.
The growth in visitor and stopover arrivals is partly attributable to reggae icon Buju Banton's concert and the annual ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys' and Girls' Atletics Championships, both of which took place in March.
“March is trending as the biggest month ever in our history, with 34,000 more visitors in a single month of March than last year this time,” he said, adding that Jamaica's tourism sector is poised to exceed the projected growth targets.
“If you do the stats, you will see that we are now trending to achieve close to five million in arrivals [in 2019], and that would be one year ahead of my growth target. We are trending to earn US$4 billion, which will be well ahead of the projections that we made,” Bartlett continued.
He was speaking at the Tourism Service Excellence Awards ceremony at Montego Bay Convention Centre on Monday.
According to the minister, for the first 12 weeks of 2019 the country recorded more than 650,000 stopover visitors. Bartlett committed to attracting five million tourists in Jamaica by 2021, thereby generating at least US$5 billion in earnings, while facilitating 125,000 direct jobs and the addition of 15,000 rooms.