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Jamaica predicting big tourism numbers


Jamaica predicting big tourism numbers

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr Wykeham McNeill, says Jamaica is on track to welcome some 3.5 million visitors this year.

The number, he said, involves a combination of cruise passengers and stopover arrivals.

Dr McNeill was addressing the opening session of the two-day Tourism Outlook Seminar on yesterday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James.

He said that stopover arrivals are up more than three per cent over 2013, and the industry is expected to once again pass the two million visitor mark this year.

“We will have in excess of 1.4 million cruise ship arrivals…so total arrivals to the country could be somewhere around 3.4 to 3.5 million visitors,” he informed.

The Tourism and Entertainment Minister noted that despite the challenges the sectors continues to perform well.

“Sometimes we don’t realise how good we are doing in certain things…we can always do better, but I think the fact that we are welcoming far more visitors to the island than people who live on the island, is a tremendous success for Jamaica and all the partners in the tourism industry,” he argued.

Dr McNeill noted, however, that the success of the industry should not only be measures in terms of the number of arrivals but also “the social and economic impacts of the industry on the people of Jamaica”.

He said that effort must be made to ensure that the Jamaican people are getting the best benefits from the sector.

“The tourism industry in Jamaica plays a crucial role in our economic and social development…providing direct employment to some 33,000 persons in the accommodations sub-sector and thousands more indirectly,” he noted. (PR)