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Jamaica holidays leading the Caribbean out of recession

  • 09-Sep-10 15:47
  • Jamaica
  • Holiday Industry

It has been recently reported by the Jamaica Tourist Board that Jamaica holidays have been enjoying a remarkable recovering, leading the Caribbean region despite the negative effects of the drug arrest earlier this summer.

Jamaica holidays leading the Caribbean out of recession

Leading the way of the recovery Caribbean holidays has been experiencing, the luxury destination of Jamaica has outshined all the others, with tourism minister Ed Bartlett charting the course of a remarkable Jamaican boom alongside colleagues at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).

Despite a global drop in the number of holiday travellers, Jamaica holidays have managed not only to keep but raise its market share, posting worldwide visitor figures that show a 3.6 per cent rise earlier this year. More recently the island welcomed approximately 1.3 million visitors between January and August this year. Not that the recovery has been easy however.

Fears over crime and the merger of Air Jamaica with rival Caribbean Air, in addition to the global tourism slowdown, are just some of the challenges which have recently been overcome by the island community. But as the Jamaica holidays continue to lead the Caribbean out of recession, what has led to the success? Among recent trends has been its emergence as a regional hub for aviation in the Caribbean.

Air Jamaica recently merged with Caribbean Air to create the largest carrier in the region, with the new airline now offering international passengers unrivalled access to a host of destinations. In the meantime, Caribbean Air has also recently been joined by Bahamas-owned Western Air in offering flights to the island, with Bartlett welcoming the additional capacity.

“Getting connectivity to a destination is the essence of the ability of that destination to remain attractive,” he explained. “It’s no good to have a beautiful, alluring, exciting, enchanting destination with attractions galore if nobody can get there. Being able to connect to the destination through airlift is very critical and is a very critical part of the strategy that we have adopted to grow tourism in Jamaica.”

Problems with Air Passenger Duty persist, however, with Mr Bartlett in the United Kingdom this week to lobby the coalition government over proposed changes to the levy.

With the arrest of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke dominating headlines around the world earlier this year, the spotlight was inevitably turned on the safety of visitors enjoying Jamaica holidays. During the height of the Dudus Coke affair numerous media outlets were willing to give the impression Jamaica was under lockdown, when in reality a small proportion of the capital Kingston saw a state of emergency. Tourist beaches, some four of five hours travel away, were completely unaffected. A recent marketing campaign has also begun to repair the damage to Jamaica’s reputation with Bartlett being quick to reassure holidaymakers. “Every effort has to be made all around. We in the Caribbean are challenged because we have had narcotic issues and other anti-social acts which have overtaken us based on, sometimes, the sheer struggle that we have to emerge out of poverty. But notwithstanding that, because tourism offers a great opportunity for job creation we have to ensure that the visitors who come are safe and all the necessary arrangements that have to be put in place ensure visitors feel comfortable all the while.”

Following a run of unprecedented success Jamaica holidays are now preparing to celebrate the arrival of the World Travel Awards in October this year. The event will see industry leaders from across the region to compete for some of the most prestigious prizes on offer in the tourism sector.

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