KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica is reporting a record increase of visitor arrivals to the island during the first two months of the year.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, speaking at a weekend ceremony where he was honored ‘Caribbean Tourism Minster of the Year’ 2017, by the Caribbean Journal, said that “we ended January at 12 per cent over last year, and February is still going ahead of last year”.
Data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) showed that a record 4.3 million tourists visited Jamaica in 2017, providing a revenue flow of approximately three billion US dollars.
Bartlett said that the tourism industry is a “significant driver” of Jamaica’s economy, noting that it has been the fastest growing sector, and the largest contributor to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), over the last 10 years.
He said the industry employs 10 per cent of the global workforce, and accounts for more than 30 per cent of trade in services.
“Tourism today has become a mammoth industry, that has embraced more than 79 countries,” he stated.
In his address, Bartlett addressed the security measures in the parish of St. James after the authorities implemented a state of emergency there to curb rising criminal activities.
“Things are looking better, because we are on the road, and we are talking to our partners, and they are understanding that what we are doing is to maintain Jamaica as a safe, secure and seamless destination,” he added.
He said Jamaica will welcome five million visitors to the island by 2019 and that there are more opportunities for higher levels of production, growth, employment, and a higher level of visibility of the Jamaican economy within the Caribbean space. – CMC