According to the Minister, this will be the last time the country will be celebrating the start of any season, noting that Jamaica’s tourism has graduated to where it will be “flying high” right through the year.
“There will be no more special season. We will be busy all year round,” the Minister told JIS News.
“We have moved beyond that. The fall will be busy, the summer will be busy and spring will also have its fair share. The months between now and May, with cruise and stopover combined, should see the highest number of arrivals during any one period in the nation’s history,” he added.
The Minister cited the plethora of rooms that have been brought into the mix, the more-than-expected number of airlifts that have been streaming in from new markets, in addition to the island now simultaneously playing host to the four biggest cruise ships in the world as the main reasons for the level of enthusiasm.
“There was a time when the fall was reserved for renovations and upgrade to properties because of what was guaranteed to be a slow period. It was also a time when some staff would either be laid off or sent home until things picked up. Fortunately, our staff will now have that security of tenure, knowing that their jobs will be all-year round,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett said he is confident the country will see four million visitors next year, an increase of some 300,000 over this year, ensuring that tourism hotel jobs will be all-year round.
“When you start seeing those kinds of numbers you can’t be talking about seasons. From now on, I want it to be the norm that we expect to have a large number of arrivals and not where we have to brace and anticipate the start of something. We are now a premier destination and we will be behaving like a country that is befitting of that status,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett kicked off a whirlwind tour of a number of properties on the north coast recently.
The tour included visits to Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Riu Reggae, Sandals Royal Caribbean, and Royal Decameron. He also had a breakfast meeting with members of the Red Cap Association at Sangster International Airport on December 14.
“It is important to meet with the people who are the first point of contact and who will be interacting with the guests. It is to show them how much we appreciate what they are doing and what they have been doing for the industry,” he said.
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