Tourism on the upswing despite crime

Omar Robinson

Barrington Flemming
Staff Reporter

Omar Robinson, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, says despite the continued bloodletting and acts of violence, bookings for the winter season, which is just 8 days away, are swinging upwards.

“It hasn’t significantly impacted the industry as the bookings are still coming. Both the government and the security forces are taking the required measures to reduce the crime rate. They are focusing on that. We in the industry are focusing on going out there and marketing the country – the benefits of coming to Jamaica and once they get here, to ensure that we deliver on our promise of providing that wonderful experience,” Robinson explained.

The JHTA head says the season is looking so rosy that it may perform just as good as last winter or arrival figures may surpass those of the last season, when 2.1 million visitors came to Jamaica’s shores.

“I think we will either do as well as last season or even better based on how we are pacing. The numbers are up so far in our traditional markets North America – Canada and the US.  Europe is coming back strongly as we have secured some new flights from that region as well.”

He further explained that several discussions have been held with stakeholders in the industry to secure and increase airlift from the lucrative South American Market, especially with Copa Airlines, expressing optimism that this will materialize for the season, which traditionally ends in April.

“I think Panama presents a great opportunity for our South American visitors to connect, who do not want to travel via Miami, because of security regulations or that they do not have a visa so there is great potential to increase the flights out of Panama and hopefully grow the market,”

Mr. Robinson says the Mayor and the Municipal Corporation must be commended for a job well done in cleaning up and restoring normality to the city after the flood devastated some areas, even as work continues.

He says Montego Bay as the tourism capital, is ready for the season with lights repaired, verges cleaned along the elegant corridor, and renewed energy along the Hip Strip.



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