JHTA boss upbeat ahead of flights from PeruMonday, September 16, 2019
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Omar Robinson is upbeat about the expected growth in tourist arrivals from Latin America.
“Latin America will be the region that provides the greatest opportunities for growth, especially as we prepare for the arrival of LATAM Airlines from Lima, Peru, which will operate in Montego Bay three times weekly. Latam is the largest carrier in South America, with connectivity to other South American countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Brazil — hence a large market for us to take advantage of.
“The LATAM flights will complement the 11 weekly flights into Jamaica on Copa [Airlines] — seven to Montego Bay and four to Kingston. There is also great connectivity from South America through Panama,” Robinson told the Jamaica Observer.
He noted that the 20 major travel industry professionals from Latin America, who were in attendance at the recently concluded 2019 staging of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) in Montego Bay, St James, were also optimistic.
“The Latin American delegates were very upbeat and positive about Jamaica. Most of them were here for the first time and expressed how pleased they were with the destination, the hotels, and the service provided,” Robinson declared.
The travel professionals were in Jamaica as part of Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett's push to drive the development of new markets — as a means of boosting and diversifying tourist arrivals and new non-stop flights between South America and Jamaica.
“As part of our push to promote Jamaica as a premier destination to the Latin American market, more than 20 tourism industry professionals from several Latin American countries participated in the 2019 staging of JAPEX and were given tours of noteworthy tourist attractions,” said Delano Seiveright, senior advisor/strategist in the Ministry of Tourism.
JAPEX 2019, put on by JHTA in association with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), was held from September 9-11 at Montego Bay Convention Centre.
“The travel industry professionals came from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and other countries, and were able to participate in tours organised by the JTB. The strategic meetings that took place as part of the site visits not only showed what Jamaica has to offer, but also provided an opportunity to build relationships and secure bookings over coming months,” Seiveright pointed out.
Two years after Bartlett led a delegation of tourism officials — including JTB Director Donovan White, Seiveright and JTB Deputy Director Donnie Dawson — to a meeting with senior executives of LATAM Airlines Group at their headquarters in Santiago, Chile, the airline is set to commence three weekly flights between Montego Bay, Jamaica and its major hub in Lima, Peru, starting December 2 this year.
“Already reports indicate that the flights are filling up nicely with passengers coming from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and other nations,” Seiveright indicated.
LATAM Airlines Group is Latin America's largest airline, operating more than 1,200 flights per day and transporting 67 million passengers per year. It has one of the largest route networks in the world, offering air services to approximately 140 destinations in 25 countries, with significant presence in six domestic markets in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Another major outcome was that one of Latin America's largest airlines, Copa Airlines, increased to daily its service between Panama City and Montego Bay, bringing to 11 the overall number of flights weekly between both countries.
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