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MONTEGO BAY, St. James; December 17, 2018: As part of preparations for what is expected to be a record winter tourist season, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett yesterday unveiled twenty (20) new automated kiosks. The automated kiosks, which were donated by the Passport Immigration and Citizens Agency, were unveiled at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
Speaking at the unveiling, Minister Bartlett said the initiative would ensure better facilitation and seamlessness for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected for the period and beyond.
Minister Bartlett said, "This is the start of the traditional high season which we expect to be a record breaking winter season. One of the reasons for this record growth comes from the fact that we have 120thousand new seats from destinations around the world, 89thousand of which are from our main source market, the U.S.
The United States provides 65% of Jamaica's stopover arrivals and with cruise arrivals the total is approximately 80% of arrivals to the island.
"So if we grow phenomenally from our main source market, growth will be secured so this winter season will grow and we are expecting growth in the region of 5% and we are excited about that," Minister Bartlett added.
Speaking to air connectivity, which is the second leg of growth that will boost the winter tourist season, Minister Bartlett said, “Air connectivity is a major strategy to increase arrivals and we have been aggressively pursuing new markets and gateways and today we have received the latest flight out of Canada, the inaugural Swoop airlines out of Hamilton which saw a full flight of 196 passengers. This will help us to grow our Canadian market and add to the many other air connectivity arrangements that have come on stream recently.”
Jamaica has acquired new airlift, working with the airlines to ensure an adequate number of seats to meet the growing demand arising from our efforts to increase arrivals out of our traditional visitor markets of the United States, Canada and England while expanding into new markets like Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Thousands of additional airline seats were negotiated for the 2018-2019 ‘High Season’ in December, out of North America, Canada, the UK and Northern Europe.
In addition, several new flights made their landing at the Sangster International Airport out of Eastern Europe, including Eurowings, Pegas Fly and Nordwind, as well as Canadian airlines Westjet and Sunwing. While Copa Airlines increased to daily its service between Panama City, its main hub, and Montego Bay.
Latam Airlines Group also announced Nonstop Direct Flights from Peru to Montego Bay beginning July 2019 and Frontier Airlines, one of the newest routes out of the United States, made its inaugural flight on November 17, 2018.
Preliminary data shows that the country will welcome well over 4.3million visitors and earn US3.3Billion by the end of the year.