Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Highlights Strategies to Increase Airlift to Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has outlined the marketing and investment strategies that will be pursued, to increase airlift to Jamaica from existing and emerging markets.

In terms of marketing, Mr. Bartlett noted that the sector has been looking towards intense market diversification as a new approach in selling the product to new and emerging markets.

The Minister explained that traditionally, the focus had been placed on the legacy markets of the United States (US), Western Europe, and Canada. He added that, for the new strategy, South East Asia, and the ‘BRIC’ countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, would be targeted.

Edmund Bartlett
Minister of Tourism

“We are looking at creating new relationships and emphasising airlifts as a key strategy in securing those markets,” the Minister told JIS News, adding that “as we drive market diversification, we are also looking at connecting gateways to other gateways in the world.”

In creating the link with China, the Minister said, connections would have to be made through the US, using Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, New York, and Vancouver as key gateways that connect to South East Asia.

The rationale behind these new gateways is to identify easier connections and hassle-free arrangements to get visitors into the island.

Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the sector is seeking to enter into flight arrangements with Air Mexico, to make air connections from Montego Bay to Shanghai via Mexico City. This arrangement, he explained, “will allow for a seamless transfer that we seek from the South, while opening connections for Brazil, Chile, and Columbia.”

“We have an agent over in Mexico City, and we are working with tour operators in that area to drive the market and begin selling Jamaica very seriously, to fill the planes that are coming out of there,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett revealed that opportunities also exist for Montego Bay in St. James to be a hub for Mexico connections. Arrangements, he explained, could be made for flights to come out of Mexico to Montego Bay and connect out of Europe and the Eastern Caribbean.

He added that discussions are currently taking place with Avianca and Copa airlines for possible expansion of routes into Jamaica.

“One of the critical advantages of our position is that some of our main stakeholders in the industry, now have very strong links and brand recognition in South America, and we can utilise those synergies to drive the traffic in our direction,” the Minister pointed out.

Highlighting other arrangements, Mr. Bartlett noted that local tourism representatives are presently in Japan and China, consolidating deals from the Beijing Olympics experience and earlier trips into those areas.

In November, a team of tourism officials, headed by the Minister, will leave for India, to initiate the legacy programme that arose from World Cup Cricket, as a means of driving traffic into Jamaica.

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