(Jamaica Gleaner) – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced that Jamaica’s tourism earnings have continued to rise with the country grossing almost US$1.5 billion during the first eight months of 2011.
He said provisional data shows that approximately 2.1 million tourists visited the island between January 1 and August 31 this year, resulting in US$1.48 million in earnings to the country.
According to the tourism minister, the figures represent a 5.7 per cent increase in visitor arrivals and a 3.4 per cent increase in earnings.
Bartlett announced the figures while addressing Sunday’s opening ceremony of the 21st Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) Tourism Trade Show now in progress at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.
He said the figures indicate that Jamaica remains a very attractive destination in a very competitive tourism market. He has also credited the ministry’s marketing team for this year’s results.
Meanwhile, Bartlett said the country’s arrival figures should be significantly boosted later this year when Copa Airlines introduces flights from South America.
He noted that even as Jamaica targets new markets, the Government will address issues such as visa restrictions for potential investors and visitors from countries in the Far East and Latin America.
Bartlett said the Foreign Affairs ministry has been holding top level discussions aimed at eliminating visa requirements for visitors from a number of the targeted countries.