The Ministry of Tourism is reporting an increase in arrivals from Russia.
Senior Advisor and Strategist, Delano Seiveright, said that just under 3,000 Russian tourists visited the island between January and the end of June compared to roughly 630 for the same period in 2018.
“Much of this is attributable to new, regular nonstop flights between Moscow, Russia and Montego Bay by PegasTouristik/Nordwind, which commenced service on October 26 last year,” he noted.
Seiveright was speaking to the government news agency JIS following a meeting with Russian and other European tourism stakeholders at the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) trade show at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on September 10.
He noted that the Ministry has made a conscious effort to target the Eastern European market.
“There was a time when our marketing was restricted to just the United Kingdom (UK) and a few other countries in Western Europe. The Eastern bloc was basically ignored and appeared impossible and off limits,” he said.
He noted that in September of 2018, the Governments of Jamaica and Russia signed a reciprocal agreement to waive the visa requirement for travel to their respective countries, spending up to 90 days per year for tourism, cultural exchange or business purposes.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith; and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, signed the agreement on the margins of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“We have clients flying out from Santiago to Panama and then into Montego Bay daily, plus other flights going through Miami into Kingston. This trend is showing no signs of slowing down and Jamaica’s arrival figures will only continue to increase,” he said.