Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, told a media briefing at the western office of the Prime Minister in Montego Bay yesterday, that the country welcomed more than 2 million stopover visitors during last year.
“This surpassed the 2 million we did in 2013. Between January and December 2014, we welcomed 2,080,181stopover visitors, which represents an increase of 3.6 per cent over the 2,008,004 stop over visitors recorded for 2013,” he said.
The Minister said overall, Jamaica welcomed over 71,000 more visitors during 2014, than in 2013.
He added that major contributors to Jamaica’s arrival growth were increased arrivals from the source markets, with stopover arrivals out of Europe growing by 10.7 per cent; arrivals from Canada moved up by 5.2 per cent; the United States increased by 2 per cent, with Western US showing a 5.4 per cent increase and an additional 5.6 per cent from the Southern United States; and a 9.2 per cent increase from the Asian market.
Turning to arrivals in the cruise shipping sector, Minister McNeill announced that for the year, Jamaica recorded a 12.5 per cent growth over 2013.
“In 2014, the island welcomed 1,423, 797 cruise visitors, which represents an increase of 12.5 per cent over 2013. In other words, Jamaica welcomed over 158,000 more cruise ship visitors in 2014 than we did in 2013,” he said.
“So, in total, Jamaica welcomed some 3.5 million visitors to the island in 2014,” the Minister added.
The Minister informed that for December 2014, the first month of the current Winter Tourist season, arrivals recorded an increase of 5.9 per cent over 2013, with 213,129, and that cruise ship was also up 12.6 per cent.
Turning to earnings from the tourism sector, Dr. McNeill reported that Jamaica raked in some US$2.2 billion between January and December 2014, which translates to a 5.8 per cent increase over the similar period in 2013.
The Minister also pointed out that preliminary arrival figures for January 2015 are very promising and from all indications, Jamaica should experience a very strong (rest of) the winter season, and that things are shaping up for the summer.
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