Jamaica’s Tourism performed well despite the 2004 Hurricane season setback

Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba has said that despite the setback to the tourism industry caused by the effects of Hurricane Ivan in the latter half of 2004, the country’s tourism performance was commendable.

Making her contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (May 24), she pointed out that total stopover arrivals of 1,414,786 in 2004 was 4.8 per cent above the 1,350,285 recorded in the previous year. Speaking on market performance, she said with the continued improvement in the United States economy, total US citizen outbound travelers to overseas regions was estimated at 22.7 million, with the Caribbean receiving 4.2 million people or 18 per cent of this market.

During the winter period, Mrs. Assamba informed that the US market provided a total of 353,221 stopover arrivals, which was 9.1 per cent above the corresponding period in 2003. Meanwhile, for the summer (May-December), the market recorded a decrease of less than 1 per cent, with a total of 642,910 stopovers, down from 644,431 in the corresponding 2003 period.

Canadian outbound travel during 2004 increased by 6.5 per cent, moving from 39.2 million travelers in 2003 to 41.8 million in 2004, Mrs. Assamba said. “It was a very good year for the Canadian market in 2004 as arrivals to Jamaica increased by 10.9 per cent. With a total of 105,623 stopovers, 10,358 more Canadians visited Jamaica in 2004 than in 2003,” she noted.

According to the Minister, the Canadian market too, enjoyed a good winter season, growing by 9.4 per cent. A total of 45,723 stopovers came from that market, compared to 41,811 in the winter period of 2003. All four months of the period recorded considerable growth, she said.

“The strong growth of winter continued into the summer. A 12.1 per cent increase was recorded and a total of 59,900 stopovers arrived, compared to the 53,454 arrivals in the summer of 2003,” the Minister informed.

“With the exception of September, October and November, which recorded decreases attributed to Hurricane Ivan, the other five summer months recorded double digit increases, ranging from the lowest increase in December of 16.6 per cent to the highest increase in May of 30 per cent,” she added.

Stopover arrivals from Europe increased by 10.7 per cent, with the country’s market share of that continent gaining three percentage points. She pointed out that in 2001, Europe’s share of the market represented 14.1 per cent and grew to 17.1 per cent in 2004. The United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Italy and Spain were the most important countries in this regional market.

The UK with 161,606 stopover arrivals registered growth of 7.9 per cent over the 149,714 in 2003. The performance for winter and summer showed increases of 15 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Italy for the second time surpassed Germany as the second leading continental European country in terms of the number of arrivals to Jamaica. With a total of 24,915 stopover arrivals, Mrs. Assamba said the Italian market grew by 2.5 per cent over the 24,303 arrivals recorded in the previous year. Germany with a total of 18,900 stopovers was up by 11 per cent, against the 16,290 stopovers in 2003. Spain, with a total of 10,339 stopovers was up 46.8 per cent against the 7,042 stopovers in 2003.

“Outbound travel is a new phenomenon among Spanish travelers and this outbound travel is in the growth phase with approximately four million trips,” Mrs. Assamba said.

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (COT), the year-end estimates for 2004 showed that overall, tourist travel from Europe to the Caribbean increased by an estimated four per cent over 2003.

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