ST. ANN, Jamaica September 25, 2018 — The Ministry of Tourism is reporting increased tourist arrivals and earnings up to August of this year.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith, speaking at the official opening of the Puerto Seco Beach in Discovery Bay, St. Ann, last Saturday, said between January and August of this year, almost three million arrivals were recorded, a 4.7 percent increase, when compared to the similar period last year.
Deputising for Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, Griffith noted that the increased tourist arrivals resulted in estimated gross foreign exchange earnings of US$2.2 billion for the period, a 7.4 percent increase, over the similar period last year.
Stopover arrivals accounted for US$2.1 billion of the earnings, while cruise tourism earned some US$120 million
“Tourism is recognised as the most important economic activity globally, with the Caribbean region and Jamaica being no exception,” she said.
The Tourism Permanent Secretary linked Jamaica’s continued record growth in tourism for 2018, to the Tourism Ministry’s ‘5x5x5’ growth agenda, which aims to attract five million tourists by 2021; generate US$5 billion in earnings; and increase total direct jobs to 125,000 and add 15,000 hotel rooms.
“As you may be aware, underpinning our 5x5x5 growth strategy is the building of more experiences for visitors, especially through the tourism linkages programs and the work that the Jamaica Tourist Board is doing. The linkages network, in particular the focus on food, gastronomy, sports and entertainment, are the critical areas that we think will boost local tourism,” she underscored.
“These networks help to further diversify our tourism offerings, while building business opportunities and generating improvement in the competitiveness of the tourist product,” Griffith added.
Last year, Jamaica recorded total arrivals of 4.3 million, with a revenue flow of US$3 billion.
In the meantime, commenting on the opening of the improved Puerto Seco beach, she said the project “will serve as an added product to attract both locals and overseas visitors”.
For his part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid — who represented Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, at the beach’s opening — said the Jamaican economy is ripe for investments.
“I am very convinced that Jamaica’s economy is very stable, and I am convinced that this has been one of the best times in our economy for a very long time. All the important indices are properly aligned,” he noted.
Senator Reid said the Ministry will restructure its training institutions, in order to meet the demands in new areas of investment.
The opening of the renovated beach has already provided employment for 86 Jamaicans, since April of this year.