GOVERNMENT on Wednesday admitted that there has been a decline in visitor arrivals since last month, and attributed this to the passage of Hurricane Sandy which affected sections of the United States, Jamaica's major market for tourists.
Minister with responsibility for Information Senator Sandrea Falconer announced that visitor arrivals were down 0.09 per cent in October and seven per cent in the first week of November.
Government's admittance comes following a question posed to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller by Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism Edmund Bartlett in Parliament on Tuesday about a fallout in the tourism sector as a result of the effects of the category one storm on the United States.
"It is true we were down 0.09 per cent in October but at the end of October we were having Hurricane Sandy, our airports were closed for two days so that would affect the visitor arrivals to our country," Falconer told journalists at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston.
She explained further that the November figures were impacted as most of the tourists come from North America and the Tri-state area of the US.
"They too were battling with the superstorm and their airports were closed and of course we wouldn't expect them to arrive in Jamaica on a holiday, while they were facing those issues," she said.
Falconer said the tourism ministry has assured her that the arrival figures are expected to increase by two per cent by the end of November.