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Jamaica confident on target to receive 4 million international tourists by end of 2016

Edmund Bartlett, the Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, has revealed that the Caribbean island looks set to welcome four million visitors by the end of 2016. The Jamaica Tourist Board recently released statistics that revealed 2.084 million international travellers visited the island in the first half of this year, an increase of 7.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Jamaica confident on target to receive 4 million international tourists by end of 2016

Jamaica looks set to receive four million visitors by the end of 2016, according to the country’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. New figures released by the Jamaica Tourist Board revealed that 2.084 million people already visited the island during the first six months of this year.

Between January and June this year, a total of 2,084,963 visitors arrived in Jamaica, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. According to the Jamaica Tourist Board’s statistics, stopovers were up by 2.5 per cent and 949,883 cruise passengers were recorded, a rise of 14.2 per cent.

The majority of visitors originate from the United States and the United Kingdom. July was a record-breaking month of Jamaica with 211,000 people visiting the island. Minister Bartlett stated:

“The preliminary numbers for July exclude Jamaican Nationals and members of the Diaspora. This is a 4 percent increase over last year and when the Diaspora is added it will perhaps equal June’s 6 percent.”

Mr Bartlett added that tourism is growing, and last year, the Caribbean recorded 28 million visitors and the region earned US$30 billion. In Jamaica, 3.7 million people travelled to the island in 2015, and the nation earned US$2.5 billion.

Tourists visiting Jamaica can now enjoy faster travel time between the north and south sides of Jamaica, following the recent opening of the new North-South link of Highway 2000. The 66-kilometre-long highway connects Kingston and Ocho Rios, and reduces the travel time by 30 minutes. The travel time for holidaymakers arriving from Kingston Norman Manley International Airport and Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport to Ocho Rios is now the same.

A number of tourism projects in the UNESCO-listed town of Falmouth in Jamaica are under development to attract more visitors. One billion dollars has been invested by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) into various projects such as the creation of a new artisan village at Hampden Wharf, a new museum at the waterfront 18th-century colonial-style Tharpe House, and the refurbished Falmouth Court House, Water Square, and Falmouth Post Office. All of the projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

The travel group Expedia recently revealed that last year, travel demand to Jamaica increased by 20 per cent. The tropical island recorded 25 per cent more American travellers in 2015, and 35 per cent more tourists from the United Kingdom.

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