Winter tourist season seeing growth over last year — McNeill
MINISTER of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill said the current winter tourist season which runs from December 15 to April 30 is already seeing growth in arrivals over last year.
McNeill, who was speaking to journalists last Thursday, while touring several sites in Trench Town, Kingston, as part of activities to mark the 69th birthday of reggae icon Bob Marley said the preliminary figure is showing an increase of 4.7 per cent over last year.
The minister noted that the figure could have been better if weather conditions in the United States (US), had not affected flights coming to Jamaica.
"We are talking to our partners to see how we can arrange it. There is nothing to really worry or panic about, but the big picture is that Jamaica continues to do very well in its tourist arrivals," McNeill said.
He lauded the efforts of stakeholders to keep the Bob Marley celebrations going on his birthday. "We market Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean, but there is so much more we have to offer, and what we want to do is to determine how we can develop this into a more formal tour," the minister said.
According to McNeill, people come to Kingston and "they want to see what it is we have to offer, and we have to ensure that we package it in a way where it is saleable to the maximum".
The minister urged more Jamaicans, especially students, to visit the Trench Town area and to understand the history and heritage.
McNeill was accompanied on the tour by his junior minister Damion Crawford; Mayor of Kingston Senator Angela-Brown Burke, community leaders, and agency officials.