Jamaica secures 1.3m airline seats out of the Americas for winter season

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced that a record 1.3 million aeroplane seats have been secured out of the Americas for the upcoming winter tourist season.

“I am pleased that for just the Americas, we have 1.3 million seats for this winter, and that is the largest number of seats that we have ever had,” Bartlett said.

A breakdown of the seats show that there will be 870,000 seats from America, an increase of 38,000 over last year; 370,000 out of Canada, an increase of 43,000 over the corresponding period last year; 25,000 seats out of Latin America, which is 5,000 more than the previous year; and 10,000 from the Caribbean.

“I think that Canada is now back with a bang. With 43,000 more seats than last year, 370,000 will take us over the 400,000 mark that we are projecting to be, and to get to the 500,000 by 2021,” Bartlett announced.

Noting that South America is the new frontier, the tourism minister revealed that his team is now in the process of wrapping up discussions with LATAM Airlines for a programme to begin next year, which will see three flights weekly out of Lima, Peru.

“And this is also a part of a continuation of discussions we are having with other airlines such as Avianca. Now Copa has been our flagship partner in South America and the exciting news is that they have increased their rotations to give us 11 flights a week out of South America... and we know that that level of connectivity that they have will see only further growth,” Bartlett said.

He was speaking yesterday at the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) media breakfast held at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort in St James.

The three-day annual tourism trade show kicked off at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Montego Bay, Sunday night.

Hosted by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) in association with the Jamaica Tourist Board, the event sees JHTA members (suppliers), including hotels and attractions, meeting with overseas hospitality and tourism industry wholesalers (buyers) and travel agents, showcasing their businesses and negotiating and confirming rates for winter tourist season 2018 and beyond.

JHTA President Omar Robinson told the Jamaica Observer that he was encouraged by the increase of buyers and sellers attending this year's staging of the event.

“JAPEX 2018 has seen a phenomenal increase [in participants]... [it] has been great. We have had an increase in the number of buyer delegates and buyer companies, representing a five and 10 per cent increase, respectively, over last year. There has been emphasis put in South America this year and we were able to get 26 new buyer companies to come and register for JAPEX,” an elated Robinson said.

He added: “We have 235 supplier delegates with 110 companies. We also have 100 travel agents from North America that will come and be exposed to the various products, attractions, hotels, and we are going to have travel agent sessions with them. With that infusion we hope that the business will continue to rise, especially this winter season.”

— Horace Hines

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