Jamaica’s tourism industry marked a historical milestone today with Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett welcoming the millionth stop-over visitor to the island for the year to date. In tandem with this landmark achievement, the tourism sector has earned in excess of US$1.2 billion for the same period.
“This is the first time ever that we have recorded a million stop over arrivals before the middle of the year. We are very excited about that because it feeds into the growth projections that we have,” said Minister Bartlett after greeting Paulette Murray and her husband Henry, who arrived at the Sangster International Airport (SIA) on an American Airlines flight out of Philadelphia, USA. The Henrys, who are here on their fourth visit, are in Jamaica for a family vacation.
Earlier it was projected that the millionth visitor would arrive on or about the end of June. However, Bartlett said all projections were being exceeded and at the end of May there were 970,000 visitors, rising sharply to today’s million.
He said this was significant, “not only because it means a million opportunities are provided for jobs and for earnings but it also helps to quantify the actual revenue flow in foreign exchange into the country and I’m very pleased to announce therefore that for the first time in our history, before the end of June, in any year, we have achieved one million visitor arrivals and earned in excess of US$1.2 billion.”
He said incrementally, on top of last year’s tourism earnings, an additional J$850 million had gone into the Jamaican economy, “And it tells me that tourism does have the potential to drive economic growth and to bring foreign exchange into the country and create stability.”
Minister Bartlett added, “We’re excited about what can happen to an economy like Jamaica where investment, remittance and tourism can combine to give foreign exchange security.” Last year remittance was just over US$2.2 billion while tourism produced US$2.5 billion and foreign direct investment (FDI) was well over US$500 million.
PHOTO: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left) is all smiles as he presents Paulette Murray of Philadelphia with a bouquet of flowers as he welcomed her as the historic one millionth stopover visitor to the island for the year to date. Enjoying the moment is her husband Henry (center).