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Jamaica in on multi-destination plan for winter

Published:Monday | November 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMMark Titus

Jamaica, along with Cuba, Dominica Republic, and Mexico are set to roll out a multi-destination offering to the international market for the 2018 winter tourist season.

According to Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, two-thirds of this new marketing approach has already been agreed on, with Mexico due to put pen to paper on the 17th of January 2018.

"By the end of January, all four of the biggest players in tourism in the region will be joining together with a multi-destination package," Bartlett told The Gleaner, following his presentation on Monday, day one of the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth, which is being held under the theme, Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

"What that means is that we will have the capacity to bring large aircrafts loaded with people from far distances, who would normally not be able to land in Jamaica because our population and demand are not strong enough to fill those large planes to get here."

Bartlett explained that the arrangement will see aircrafts making several stops at different destinations and is set to bring great benefits to Jamaica, which is set to surpass the four million visitor arrivals for the first time in its history.

"Although the Caribbean is open for business, it cannot be business as usual in the Caribbean," Bartlett said yesterday during his presentation. "While the tourism sector in the region has traditionally been very resilient and remains one of the most valuable contributors to job creation, poverty alleviation, investments, export revenues, GDP and to the economic livelihoods of millions of citizens, its gentle balance can be easily disturbed by a wide range of risks and threats."

Thirteen of the most tourism-dependent countries in the region including: St Martin, Anguilla, Dominica, Barbuda, St Barts, the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, the Dominica Republic, and Puerto Rico were recently ravaged by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Historic 29 million tourists visited Caribbean last year

While countries such as Dubai and Thailand are among several countries that have developed products to rival the Caribbean region for the global tourism market, with regional stakeholders are now exploring strategies to manage risks and challenges, while incorporating new approaches and opportunities for growth.

Caribbean tourism overcame early projections of downturn in global tourism receipts, to grow at an unprecedented rate of 4.2 per cent last year, welcoming a historic 29 million visitors, over one million more than the previous year. This level of growth outpaced the global average of 3.9 per cent. Cruise tourism in the region also peaked at 26.3 million, some 1.3 per cent more than 2015.

According to data from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the region welcomed 16.6 million international tourists for the first six months of this year, or 800,000 more than in the first six months of 2016.