Slight decline in cruise, airport passengers for April

Friday, May 25, 2018

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Despite announcements that Jamaica welcomed more than 50,000 tourists in the first week of April for carnival celebrations, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has reported declines in airport and cruise passenger arrivals, as at the end of April, by 0.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

According to the PIOJ data, Jamaica also experienced a decline in visitors from Canada during the period January to March, but saw overall growth of 1.6 per cent for the hotels and restaurant industry for the first three months of the year comparative to the same period in 2017.

Despite the downward trend in visitor arrivals for the month of April, the PIOJ is still optimistic that the sector will perform positively at the end of the period April to June 2018, facilitated by increased room stock as a result of the expansion of existing properties and the construction of new hotels.

Growth prospects for the economy over the three-month period to June is expected to be in the range of 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, and will be supported by growth in the hotel and restaurant, mining and quarrying, agriculture and construction industries.

The previous quarter, January to March, reflected an increase of 6.1 per cent in foreign national arrivals from the USA and Europe to total 589,158 guests. Cruise passenger arrivals also increased, up 6.5 per cent to 673,672, bringing total visitor expenditure for Jamaica up by 8.5 per cent to US$825.3 million.

Provisional data from the Jamaica Tourist Board also showed that Jamaica welcomed a record 4.3 million tourists in 2017, a 12.1 per cent increase over arrivals in 2016, comprising of 2,353,461 stopover arrivals and 1,946,780 cruise passengers. Diversions from Hurricane Irma-ravaged Caribbean islands significantly contributed to the increase in cruise passenger and stopover arrivals last year, providing revenue flow of approximately US$3 billion.

This year Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett plans to regain visitors, including Russian tourists, as the economy returns to modest growth after losing more than 60 per cent of its value due to rapidly falling oil prices and the impact of Western-imposed sanctions over Russia's alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

Bartlett also said that the ministry is targeting arrival numbers from South America, with increased flights between Latin America's Lima, Peru hub and Montego Bay, Jamaica, over the next six months.




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