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Visitor arrivals in Jamaica up by five per cent in first nine months of 2016

Jamaica has recorded a 5.4 per cent increase in tourist arrivals during the first nine months of 2016. The latest figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board reveal that the Caribbean island received 2,876,220 visitors during this period, and gross foreign exchange earnings was also up by five per cent. The country also received a positive rise in travellers from Canada, with a 7.2 per cent increase.

Visitor arrivals in Jamaica up by five per cent in first nine months of 2016

The Jamaica Tourist Board has released new data that shows the island received a 5.4 per cent increase in visitor arrivals in the first nine months of 2016. The total number of visitors reached 2,876,220 between January and September this year.

Speaking at the World Travel Market earlier this week, the Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, said:

"Earnings from gross foreign exchange grew by 5.9 per cent during this period, and the country recorded earnings of around US$1.9 billion. It is particularly unusual for the country’s earnings to be higher than visitor arrivals."

The number of travellers from the United States contributed to the majority of the increase in visitors, with an increase of 7.6 per cent and an additional 75,193 additional tourists. Canadian visitors increased by 7.2 per cent, with an extra 17,732 additional visitors compared to 2015, which was good news for Jamaica’s tourism industry following the decline in Canadians visiting the island last year.

Minister Bartlett commented:

“In my first stint as Minister of Tourism, we grew the Canadian market by 100 per cent. We started with some 163,000 visitors from Canada and when our term ended we recorded approximately 370,000 visitors. However, over the years there was a noticeable decline. So, we had to strengthen our marketing efforts in this important market and I am pleased to announce that it has produced positive results.”

Earlier this year, Mr Bartlett announced that Jamaica is expected to receive more than four million visitors by the end of 2016. With nearly three million arrivals already recorded, the forthcoming high season is expected to bring the additional holidaymakers this year.

The country is undergoing several developments to improve its infrastructure and encourage more international visitors to the Caribbean island. Travel time between the north and south sides of the island has been cut by 30 minutes thanks to the opening go the North-South link of Highway 2000. Connecting Kingston and Ocho Rios, the 66-kilometre-long highway allows holidaymakers arriving from Kingston Norman Manley International Airport and Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport to now enjoy the same travel time to Ocho Rios.

The UNESCO-listed town of Falmouth in Jamaica has several projects underway, thanks to the investment of one billion dollars by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). These include a new artisan village at Hampden Wharf, a new museum at the waterfront 18th-century colonial-style Tharpe House, and the renovated Falmouth Court House, Water Square, and Falmouth Post Office. 

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