Speaking to JIS News following a function in Falmouth, Trelawny, on April 12, the Minister said Jamaica is also on track to have another great year, following the success of 2018, which saw the country welcoming 4.32 million visitors and earning US$3.3 billion in revenue.
“I am pleased to share that for January through March of this year, stopover visitors totalled 671,803, up 12.9 per cent over the same period last year, with March registering record stopovers of 258,165, up 14.7 per cent over March 2018,” the Minister noted.
“With this record-setting visitor growth, there is an urgent need to keep increasing our room stock. I am pleased with the steady flow of hotel investments that we are seeing in Jamaica, bolstered by the Government’s concerted effort to create an environment that attracts and fosters premium investments in the tourism sector,” he said.
The Minister said that in the last three years, the country has added a whopping 4,383 new beds to its room stock, adding that new projects will add another 1,005 rooms in 2019.
He argued that as of 2020 and beyond, Jamaica will witness the largest growth in hotel rooms ever with the expansion of existing properties and the construction of new ones adding another 18,157 rooms.
Mr. Bartlett said that while the country continues to welcome its share of prestigious international brands that give the tourism product the international stamp of approval, “we cannot overlook the huge contribution of our indigenous brands (Sandals, Jewel) to our tourism product”.
“We are immensely proud of our local premium properties, which are synonymous worldwide with unparalleled guest service and product quality. Without question, they can hold their own on the very competitive global stage,” the Minister added.
In the meantime, Mr. Bartlett noted that the show of confidence in Jamaica by investors not only further enhances Jamaica’s image as a leading tourism destination but that these investments are also creating job opportunities for Jamaicans and further fueling the expansion and diversification of the tourism product.
“Evidently, Jamaica has a competitive advantage with our wonderful natural and cultural assets, our geographic location with easy access to main visitor markets, year-round warm weather and a strong tourism product,” he said.
“Proudly, it has earned Jamaica many international travel awards, including being listed No.14 of the Top 25 Best Destinations in the World for 2019 on renowned travel website TripAdvisor. We were the only country in the Caribbean to do so, ranking among destinations such as London, Rome and Paris,” the Minister said.
He added that the positive reviews over the past two years have not been by accident, noting that the Government has been working tirelessly to put in place the strategies, infrastructure and services that support investments and continued growth in the tourism sector.
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