Italian airline increases seats to Jamaica

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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Local tourism links with Europe looks set for another major boost later this year, with the announcement that Italian airline, Neos, is to increase its seating capacity into Jamaica starting in May and using a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The announcement was made Monday, during a meeting between Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and executives of Italy's leading tour operator Alpitour World in Milan, Italy.

Laurent Parent, a senior executive for Alpitour World, Italy's largest tour operator, noted that the new aircraft will replace existing once weekly scheduled Boeing 767 charter services between Milan and Montego Bay.

Parent added that Jamaica is becoming more and more popular for Italians, with Negril and Montego Bay being the biggest draws. He noted that one Negril resort has been listed among the tour company's 15 best hotel resorts in the world.

Bartlett noted that Italy is among the leading countries being targeted in Jamaica's ongoing European tourism growth strategy, which in 2017 recorded 325,804 European tourists, approximately 31,000 more than in the previous year.

“We have set an aggressive target for Italy of 20,000 by 2021 and our tour operators' partners, including Alpitour World, are critical to achieving those numbers. Last year we grew the Italian market by 44.5 percent over the last two years, bringing roughly 14,000 Italians to Jamaica,” Bartlett said.

“Italian tourists also enjoy smaller, boutique properties, hence their love for Negril. The JTB has been directed to, among other actions, immediately pull together a major familiarisation trip for Italian travel agents and other stakeholders so as to achieve our targets,” he added.

Bartlett was joined by Jamaica Tourist Board head, Donovan White, senior advisor/strategist, Delano Seiveright and JTB Italy executives.

Founded in 2001, Neos caters to Italy's leisure market providing flights to destinations outside Italy. Neos is part of Alpitour World, the leading integrated leisure concern in Italy operating, apart from aviation, in tour operating, hotel management, destination management services and distribution.

Jamaica currently enjoys two weekly direct flights by Neos from the Italian cities of Milan and Verona to Montego Bay.

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