Provisional figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) show that between January and August 2018, a total of 2.95 million tourists visited Jamaica.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says this represents a 4.7 per cent increase when compared to the corresponding period last year.
Providing an official update on the performance of the sector at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on September 5, Bartlett said the sector continues to perform well amidst national, regional and global challenges.
He said the figures indicate that the sector is on target to outperform the benchmark target of five per cent growth in five years.
“Last year broke all of that, because we got 12 per cent. To grow on last year is a phenomenal achievement and to be growing at the five per cent that we project is even more phenomenal,” the Minister said.
He noted that preliminary gross foreign exchange earnings for the first eight months of 2018 were approximately $2.2 billion.
“That means you are trending well ahead of the $3-billion mark for the end of this calendar year. If we continue with these robust arrival figures to year end, then for the third consecutive year, the growth of Jamaica’s tourism sector would have exceeded the projected five per cent annual growth,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister pointed out that the figures indicate the country experienced the “best summer” performance for the period May to August 2018.
Bartlett informed that the provisional estimates showed stopover arrivals up by six per cent, when compared to the corresponding period last year.
“That is 884,324 visitors compared to the 834,292 in 2017. These figures contributed to total visitor arrivals of 1,312,494, which was a 4.4 per cent increase over the same period last year,” the Minister said.
Bartlett emphasised that this augurs well for the country’s high season, which begins in December.