SPEAKING NOTES FOR MINISTER OF TOURISM THE HON. EDMOND BARTLETT AT THE BRITISH AIRWAYS 70TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION AT THE JAMAICA PEGASUS HOTEL 2016 JUNE 10
Submitted by admin on Sun, 12/04/2016 - 14:44
While Pan American was the first commercial airline to arrive in Jamaica in 1930, British Airways has offered the longest continual service. The first British Airways flight arrived in Jamaica in September 1946 under the banner of the British Overseas Airways Corporation.
The flight was made using Lancastrian G-AGWL Star Guide with an average flying speed of 220 mph (354 km/h) – less than half the average speed of modern commercial jets. The Lancastrian is a modified Lancaster Bomber plane from the World War II.
The 1946 flight was part of a fortnightly service that flew London-Azores-Bermuda-Jamaica-Caracas.
British Airways is a major gateway for British and European Travellers coming to Jamaica. In 2015, the airline contributed 1.6% of the 2.6 million passengers arriving in Jamaica – 42,317 pax. This represents 18% of our European arrivals for that period.
This is an indicator of its importance to the continued development of Jamaica’s tourism product and by extension, the country.
Today, British Airways offers three weekly flights to Kingston. The airline stopped flying into Montego Bay in 2012.
British Airways’ corporate citizenship is evidenced by its contribution to the development of sport and culture in Jamaica- chiefly through the sponsorship of airline tickets; such as Jamaica’s participation in the International World Food Summit. British Airways has also sponsored many local environmental management campaigns and school competitions.
British Airways was a gold sponsor of Jamaica’s prestigious Johnnie Walker World Championship of Golf in the early 1990’s.
Travel within the Caribbean is hampered by lack of accessibility. The northern Caribbean is particularly hamstrung. To travel from Kingston to Puerto Rico, one needs to head north to Miami to connect to a south bound flight.
As we look to the next 70 years , British Airways may want to consider positioning itself as critical to strengthening connectivity within the region through its route schedule within the Caribbean.
One of the strategies for growth is multi-destination tourism where visitors come to the region and see two or three different countries. Jamaica is currently exploring opportunities with Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
For multi-destination tourism to be successful, accessibility must be improved among the countries being targeted.
Aviation is one of the most volatile industries and is continually impacted by both micro and macro forces within the environment. As such, it is imperative that technology needs are agile enough to handle the swift changes.
Originally, nations held the right to impose conditions on airlines using their space. This has changed with the new ownership of airlines. Over the past 20 years, liberalization, privatization and globalization have significantly changed the airline industry.
Destinations now have to negotiate with the knowledge that tour operators, airlines, hotels, travel agent are interconnected and an agreement with one may lead to relationships with other sub-sectors.
Jamaica’s growth target for the UK and Northern Europe is 4.1% for 2016, an addition of 8849 visitors. There is an additional 20 000 visitors that we are targeting from continental Europe. We expect to work closely with BA and its network of Travel Agents to get these visitors to experience Jamaica, the Home of All Right.