Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has announced that Jamaica recorded a 3.6 per cent increase in tourist arrivals last year.
Dr. McNeill said Jamaica received an estimated US$2.2 billion in revenue from the sector in 2014, a 5.8 per cent increase over the similar period in 2013.
He said Jamaica welcomed more than two million stopover visitors last year as compared to 2013, describing the figures as unprecedented.
“This surpassed the two million we did in 2013,” said McNeill. “Between January and December 2014, we welcomed 2,080,181 stopover visitors, which represents an increase of 3.6 per cent over the 2,008,004 stopover visitors recorded for 2013.”
McNeill said Jamaica welcomed over 71,000 more visitors during 2014 than the previous year and that the major contributors were increased arrivals from the source markets, with stopover arrivals out of Europe growing by 10.7 per cent; Canada 5.2 per cent and the United States two per cent. In addition, Jamaica benefitted from a 9.2 increase from the Asian market.
Jamaica also recorded a 12.5 per cent growth in cruise ship arrivals over 2013.
“In 2014, the island welcomed 1,423,797 cruise visitors, which represents an increase of 12.5 per cent over 2013,” said McNeill. “In other words, Jamaica welcomed over 158,000 more cruise ship visitors in 2014 than we did in 2013. So, in total, Jamaica welcomed some 3.5 million visitors to the island in 2014.”
In December 2014, the first month of the current winter tourist season, McNeill said arrivals recorded an increase of 5.9 per cent over 2013, with 213,129 and that cruise ship arrivals was also up 12.6 per cent.
He said that preliminary arrival figures for January 2015 are very promising and from all indications, the rest of the winter season should remain very strong for Jamaica.