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Published on : Sunday, July 9, 2017
Jamaican Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has announced that the country’s tourism sector is continuing its trend of record-breaking arrivals and earnings as Jamaica welcomed 2,165,330 visitors for the first six months of 2017, which marks a 3.9 per cent increase over the same period in 2016.
The tourism sector of Jamaica earned some US$1.46 billion between January and June of this year; a remarkable 7.5 per cent increase over the same period last year.
To quote Minister Bartlett at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston on Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, “The last three months – April, May, June – have averaged 10 per cent growth in arrivals and July and August are trending in a similar fashion. We expect to end the year with over four million visitors for the first time in our history.”
Noting that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world, Minister Bartlett said it would be prudent to examine the sector a little more closely “to see how we can use it better for national development.”
He said that the Caribbean has lagged not only in terms of absolute growth, but also relative to other developing countries; falling behind growth rates in East Asia and Africa in every decade since 1970, as well as behind the Least Developed Countries since 1980.
Minster Bartlett noted that the Caribbean has performed poorly compared to other small island developing countries.
Minister Bartlett said, however, that the Caribbean had made progress as, with the exception of Haiti. The World Bank has classified all Caribbean countries as having either high or middle income status, with most countries in the middle income group – Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
The five countries classified as high income were Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.