chinajamJamaica is leaving no yuan unturned in its quest for a bigger piece of the Chinese market.

Addressing delegates attending the Chinese Outbound Travel and Tourism Market in Beijing this week, Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said that Chinese arrivals to Jamaica grew 10.3% in 2007 over 2006, a trend that he predicted would continue.

His expectation is consistent with the World Tourism Organization's projection of Chinese outbound tourism exceeding 100 million by 2015. There currently are 40.9 million Chinese travelers a year.

"Jamaican-Chinese relations have grown steadily since 1972, which ushered in a period of sustained contact and friendship, underpinned by our commitment to the One China policy," Bartlett said.

Relations took a big step forward when Jamaica was granted Approved Destination Status in 2005, which opened the door to Chinese tour operators bringing groups into Jamaica.

Bartlett, along with Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) members and Air Jamaica representatives, also met with Chinese tour operators and the China Civil Aviation Authority.

Chinese tourism officials presented the JTB with the Chinese Tourist Welcome award, given to international organizations which have successfully adapted their product to cater to the Chinese traveler.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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