The Minister pointed out that the Ministry has been taking strategic steps to target new markets and increase the number of flights to boost tourism arrivals on a sustained basis.
He was speaking to journalists at a press conference commemorating the first South West Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, on June 4,
“Our tourism partners, such as Southwest Airlines, which provide regular and reliable airlift to the island, have greatly contributed to helping Jamaica achieve our goal of increasing passenger traffic, and we will continue to build on this partnership,” the Minister said.
“We have had noteworthy success in our efforts to secure new airlifts. There will be weekly charter flights from Spain and Portugal to Jamaica, beginning next month,” he added.
The Portugal flights, the Minister said, will be operated by Orbest from June 9 to September 29 out of the capital city, Lisbon, using a 388-seat Airbus 330.
Flights from Spain, he noted, will be operated by Evelop, non-stop out of Madrid into Montego Bay, from June 4 to October 28, also using a 388-passenger Airbus 330.
“In addition, one of Europe’s leading airlines, Eurowings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, will be operating twice-weekly scheduled service between Germany’s largest populated metropolitan region, Bonn/Cologne, and Montego Bay, beginning July 3 this year,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett said the Ministry and its agencies are working diligently to provide a product and a service “that both meet and exceed the expectations of our visitors as well as our important tourism partners”.
“I am happy to assure Southwest Airlines that much work is being done to improve and enhance the visitors’ experience at the Sangster International Airport, so they can send in more flights,” the Minister said.
“We are also taking steps to ensure the availability of first-class accommodation for our visitors, and Montego Bay is on track in attracting new hotel investments, with 1,000 new rooms coming on stream this year and over 2,000 within the next four to five years,” he noted.
Mr. Bartlett emphasised that destination assurance remains critical to the effective development of the tourism product, and this prompted the recent launch of the Destination Assurance Councils for the resort areas, including Negril, Montego Bay and Falmouth; and St. Ann, St. Mary, Portland, and St. Thomas; and Kingston and the South Coast.
“They have been tasked with ensuring that the quality, standards and integrity of Jamaica’s tourism product are maintained,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica is happy to have Southwest Airlines as a partner.
“Based on your track record of growth and performance, we know that we can look forward to a long and successful partnership as we continue to work to maintain our position as a world-class destination,” the Minister told the gathering.
- Countries: Jamaica