Jamaica reports large increase in visitors

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Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photo Credit: Dean Fikar/Shutterstock

Jamaica drew 1.87 million visitors in the first eight months of 2019, a 9.1% increase year over year.

Director of tourism Donovan White said at the recent Jamaica Annual Product Exchange (JAPEX) conference in Montego Bay that those visitors spent $2.39 billion, a 12% rise.

Based on projections, Jamaica is forecasting a 7% rise in arrivals in the September-December period, which would result in Jamaica ending 2019 with 2.68 million arrivals, an increase of 8.4%.

Full-year visitor spending is estimated at $3.49 billion, a 12% jump.

Airlift from the U.S. continues to grow, White said, citing upcoming daily service to Montego Bay from New York JFK on American Airlines and from Detroit on Delta. 

More than 60% of all Jamaica visitors are from the U.S.; 40% of all visitors arrive from gateways in the Northeast.

The destination has had "less than a stellar year" in terms of cruise numbers, according to White, who attributed the falloff to itinerary changes by the major cruise lines.

"Discussions are ongoing, and we are confident that this will improve for 2020," he said.

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