Record arrivals mark the start of Tourism Awareness Week — Bartlett

Monday, September 25, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — The local tourism sector began its celebration of Tourism Awareness Week 2017 with news that Jamaica continues to experience record-breaking visitor arrivals.

For the first eight months of this calendar year, January to August, there was a 6.9 per cent increase in stopover arrivals in comparison to the corresponding period for 2016, according to a release from the Ministry of Tourism.

The ministry said that cruise passenger arrivals were up 5.1 per cent to the end of August and in the eight-month period, a total of 2.8 million visitors earned the country approximately US$2 billion or 8.3 per cent more in gross foreign exchange earnings than the same period last year.

The figures were disclosed yesterday by Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett in a message at the St John’s Methodist Church, Montego Bay, marking the start of Tourism Awareness Week. The calendar tourism event is being observed in partnership with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association through October 1 and focuses on “Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development”.

Bartlett said it tied in with the designation of 2017 as the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” and provided the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.

He underscored that as the largest source of foreign exchange earnings for most of the island economies, tourism was undoubtedly the region’s most important sector.

“This reality was brought sharply into focus by the recent catastrophic destruction wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria on many of our tourism dependent sister islands,” said Bartlett.

He added that the ripple effects of these natural disasters were being felt throughout the tourism value chain by hoteliers and their workers, restaurateurs and the farmers who supply their produce, craftsmen, transport operators and many others.

“These storms have closed hotels, cut production and wiped out jobs. Yet, tourism remains one of the most resilient economic sectors with a capacity to adapt to changing conditions and recover from setbacks. As such Governments and stakeholders must continue to work together to minimise the effects of the negative events and build resilience and confidence in the industry,” Bartlett assured.

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