Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill yesterday gave a resounding report on the sector, which indicates that the tourism industry continues to flourish despite the many challenges it faces.
Minister McNeill was speaking during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, where he gave a comprehensive overview of the performance of the sector.
In announcing the figures, the Minister said, “our provisional estimates indicate that for the period January to June, stopover arrivals increased by 3.4%,” moving from 1,045,876 for the same period last year to 1,081,480. He continued that “at the same time cruise passenger arrivals reflect a phenomenal 39.9% increase,” moving from 554,106 for the same period in 2011 to 775,312. He explained that combined it means that the total visitor arrivals to Jamaica for the first half of the year have increased by 16%.
He then looked at stopover arrivals, stating, “in May and June of this year, we have had much better performances than was anticipated with an 8% and 9% increase respectively in stopover arrivals for these two months over the same period last year.”
With gross foreign exchange earnings of US$1.12 billion for the period January to June, 2012 he stressed that “though the figures were provisional this is a clear indication that the industry is off to an excellent start,” noting that the increase in earnings represents a 4.2% increase over the same period last year.
Minister McNeill expressed great optimism about the prospects for the sector’s performance in the coming months, citing that “we anticipate the upward trend will be maintained as the Jamaica 50 activities continue, attracting members of the Diaspora coming home to enjoy the jubilee celebrations, while the London Olympics promotions are expected to boost our visitor arrivals in the future.”
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