Jamaica said it received 1.7 million visitors in 2008, a 3.9% increase over the prior year. U.S. visitors accounted for 1.1 million of the total, a jump of 1.6%.

Increased inventory, attractions and airlift helped boost arrivals last year, according to John Lynch, director of tourism.

New hotel inventory in 2008 included the 681-room Riu Montego Bay and the 978 rooms in the three-hotel Iberostar resort.

Still to come on line are the 299-room Solis The Palmyra Resort & Spa in the Rose Hall section of Montego Bay and the first phase of Fiesta Hotel Group’s 1,056-room project that includes the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort.

The Mystic Mountain attraction opened in Ocho Rios last summer and already plans to add more zipline tours and open hiking paths.

New lift includes JetBlue’s daily nonstop service from New York Kennedy to Montego Bay, starting May 21.


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