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Kingston, Jamaica: April 22, 2015 – There was a buzz of activity in Ocho Rios this morning as nearly one thousand Chinese vacationers descended on the resort town to experience Jamaica’s world class tourism offerings. The group represents the single largest number of Chinese visitors to vacation on the island ever.
The visitors were brought into Ocho Rios on board the Costa Atlantica cruise ship as part of China’s first around the world cruise. Ocho Rios, which is a preferred destination for the Chinese, is only one of the 28 destinations in the 18 countries that will be visited by the group.
The 86 day cruise began in Shanghai, China on March 1 and will end on May 26. The visitors were warmly welcomed to Ocho Rios by Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Regional Director, Janice Allen who along with JTB, Cruise Liaison Officer, Sharon Williams presented gifts to the leaders of the group.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill said “I welcome the arrival of this ground-breaking cruise which has brought a record-number of Chinese visitors to our shores. This is truly a vote of confidence for Brand Jamaica as this visit forms part of a world tour, and they could have chosen to visit countless other destinations. The fact that they decided to include Jamaica is proof of the tremendous global appeal of our unique destination.”
Minister McNeill also emphasized that the arrival of the group in in-keeping with efforts by Jamaica to further tap into the Chinese market in a bid to diversify and develop new markets. He said “China is the largest tourism source market in the world in terms of spending. For many years we have recognized China’s potential for growth as a tourism source market for Jamaica and we have been taking key steps to attract even more visitors from China, such as the recent approval by Cabinet of the conditional waiving of visa requirements for Chinese nationals travelling to Jamaica for tourism purposes for 30 days or less.”
“I hope that after experiencing what our destination has to offer many of these visitors will actually return and also encourage others to do the same,” the Minister added.
“We are thrilled that the Costa Atlantica has chosen Jamaica as their sole port of call in the Caribbean for this voyage,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook. “We do have strong cultural ties with China, since the arrival of the first Chinese visitors to Jamaica in 1854. The Jamaica Tourist Board continues to find ways to facilitate easy travel between China and Jamaica. Our motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’ and we are pleased to welcome this large Chinese contingent to our shores and hope they will return to experience more of the Home of All Right.”
Guest Relations Manager of Costa Atlantica Shao Enyu said the visitors will be taken on a number of excursions across Jamaica including a visit to the world famous Dunn’s River Falls and that they are all eagerly awaiting this opportunity to see the beauty of the country.