LATAM strengthens connection with fastest-growing region — BartlettWednesday, December 04, 2019
BY HORACE HINES
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has described the commencement of LATAM's non-stop flights between Peru and Montego Bay as a major boost for the connection of the destination with the South American, which is now the fastest-growing region for Jamaica's tourism.
The first of three weekly non-stop flights by LATAM Airlines Group between their major hub in Lima, Peru and Montego Bay, Jamaica arrived at Sangster International Airport Monday afternoon.
“We have LATAM starting with three, and on my discussion this [Monday] morning, three are going to be too few. So we are anticipating very shortly daily from Lima, Peru — but that connection is not just about Peru, although it is LATAM Peru that is flying here today. But it really is connecting Brazil in a big way; is connecting Chile in a big way, is connecting Argentina in a big way; it's connecting with Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador and Bolivia. We are excited that we are now truly connected with South America,” Bartlett stated during the welcome ceremony.
Bartlett disclosed that Jamaica is currently having discussions to enter into a multi destination arrangement with Peru.
“We are going to play the role of being partners in creating one package and so the discussions are going to continue with the JTB and the tourism authorities in Peru, along with the JHTA, for us to develop these packages that will sell one destination with many experiences. We can sell China and we can sell Japan, we can sell Africa, and we can sell all of Eastern Europe and elsewhere, but more importantly, we can sell the rest of South America. So you can go to Peru, enjoy two nights, and come to Jamaica and spend a week. And it is a single fare that you pay and as for the hoteliers it is single package that will be provided,” Bartlett said.
He also disclosed that multi-destination discussions are advanced between Jamaica and Panama.
“The importance of that multi-destination arrangement with Panama and now Peru is to complete the circle. It is to make sure that the two mega gateways that connect South America with Jamaica are now fully covered by multi-destination arrangements. We are excited by that because we already have Copa coming through Panama with 11 flights,” the tourism minister stated.
LATAM's vice-president for North America, Caribbean and Asia, Paola Penarete was hopeful that the airline will increase to daily flights from Lima.
“Montego Bay is LATAM's 35th international destination from Lima. We have been working hard to connect South America in a seamless way. This is just three times a week for now but we do hope to come and celebrate daily flights,” Penarete said.
In April last year, Bartlett and several tourism officials — including Director of Tourism, Donovan White; senior advisor/strategist, Delano Seiveright; and deputy director of tourism, sales USA and Latin America, Donnie Dawson — visited Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. They met with the leadership of Latin America's largest airlines, tour operators, travel media, government officials, travel agents and investors, among other stakeholders, as part of efforts to not only boost, but to diversify Jamaica's tourism source markets. Jamaica currently gets the bulk of its visitors from the United States, followed by Canada, then the United Kingdom.
“Cementing and opening up of new source markets, including in Latin America and Europe; more new rooms, more new flights; closer collaboration with cruise operators; first-rate relationships with non-traditional players like Airbnb, among other things, represent the very cornerstone of our aggressive tourism growth strategy,” Seiveright said.