Jamaica Posts Growing Air Arrivals
PHOTO: Jamaica’s air arrivals are up 5.5 percent. (Photo by Brian Major)
Already the third-most visited Caribbean destination, Jamaica is headed toward another year of impressive tourism growth. The country recorded a 5.5 percent increase in visitor arrivals between January and September of 2015 said Wykeham McNeill, the country’s tourism minister.
Jamaica hosted 1.6 million visitors during the period, according to Jamaica Tourism Board (JTB) statistics reported on the government-run Jamaica Information Service website. The visitor total exceeded 2014 by 38,000 visitors, McNeill said. Jamaica has also hosted 105,000 more cruise ship arrivals in the first three quarters of 2015 than last year.
The results include increased arrivals from the United States, McNeill said. Jamaica has secured an additional 60,000 airline seats for the upcoming 2015-2016 winter season, which begins Dec. 15. McNeill said 50,000 of the new seats will originate in the U.S. The new airlines include Frontier Airways, which will offer flights departing from Philadelphia; American Airlines, with flights from Los Angeles, and Southwest, which will offer daily flights from Houston.
The new flights come as Jamaica’s resort inventory also undergoes an expansion. Jamaica will gain another $200 million worth of new hotel and resorts by the end of 2015, McNeill said recently.
Jamaica trailed only the Dominican Republic and Cuba in visitor arrivals in 2014, with 2,080,181 overnight travelers according to Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) statistics, a record total and the country’s second consecutive year of more than two million visitor arrivals. Jamaica is also the sixth-busiest Caribbean cruise destination, recording 1,423,797 cruise ship visitors in 2014 according to CTO.
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