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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica: June 7, 2015: As stopover visitor arrivals continue to trend upwards, the European conglomerate, TUI Group, has been helping to drive significant growth out of the European market.
This as a new direct flight from Ireland to Jamaica will be added for Summer 2016 through Falcon Holidays and Thomson Holidays, both part of the TUI Group.
Making the announcement yesterday (June 6) at the 54th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Hon. Dr Wykeham McNeill said TUI will roll out its new charter programme from Dublin using a Thomson Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Beginning June 2016, the service will run six flights weekly with holiday packages running for two weeks, thereby adding an additional 12, 222 room nights for the destination.
“We have TUI’s assurance that should this short programme be successful they will consider expanding into the following summer,” Minister McNeill noted.
He had more good news of increased airlift out of Europe later this year. Commencing November 29, Ving, a subsidiary of Thomas Cook Nordic, will operate new service from Gothenburg, Sweden via Oslo Norway, to Montego Bay. The fortnightly service will bring 2,907 passengers who will also be staying for 14 nights, thereby accounting for 20,349 room nights.
Also, commencing mid-December the fortnightly service which TUI Sweden operated from Stockholm to Montego Bay last winter will be doubled to weekly flights for the 2015/16 winter season. With capacity being doubled, passengers from Stockholm, Cophenhagen and Helsinki are expected to increase from 5,510 last winter to 8,671.
Visitors booking this service will also vacation for two weeks, resulting in an extra 22,127 room nights.
It was also outlined that Thomson UK has added a sixth weekly flight from the United Kingdom (UK): a third weekly operation from London Gatwick Airport. This will bring 15,132 additional passengers to Jamaica, and with an average stay of 12 nights, an estimated 90,000 room nights.
The renewed thrust in Europe is bolstered by the fact that arrivals from January to April 2015 out of that market went up by 9.1 percent over the corresponding period last year, with a total of 95,177 stopover visitors gracing Jamaica’s shores. Concurrently, the UK market registered a 27.5 percent increase, from 48,363 in 2014 to 61,670 UK visitors this year.
The Minister pointed to the fact that "these visitors stay for longer periods in small and medium sized properties, thereby helping to boost the occupancy levels of these properties."
Overall, he told the hoteliers and their purveyors that the sector continues to perform well, even amid the challenges of a harsh global environment. “We are building on the successes of 2014, which was another record year for stopover arrivals as we welcomed over 2 million visitors for the second consecutive year. Total arrivals for the last Winter Tourist Season stood at over 5 percent and we expect this positive trend to continue,” Minister McNeill noted.