The 2018/19 Winter Tourist Season has emerged as Jamaica’s most successful based on earnings and visitor arrivals, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, has said.
He noted that over the last three months of the season, which commenced on December 15, the industry welcomed nearly 800,000 stopover visitors while generating more than $1 billion in earnings.
Bartlett added that 121,000 persons directly employed in the sector, and another 375 who work indirectly, benefited from this out-turn.
“Our growth has been phenomenal. This is the greatest and most productive tourism winter season that Jamaica has ever seen in its history,” the minister said.
He was addressing the gathering at an awards ceremony for the first cohort of graduates under the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Volunteer Training Programme, at the University of Technology (UTech) in St Andrew yesterday.
Bartlett said the boom in visitor arrivals to Jamaica has spurred investment interests, while advising of the impending commencement of several projects to construct thousands of additional hotel rooms islandwide.
Meanwhile, the minister, who emphasised that coffee has several value-added components that are not fully exploited by local entrepreneurs, urged them to explore these and not focus solely on exporting only coffee beans.