KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill, is reporting strong growth figures in cruise ship arrivals for the first eight months of the year.
He said that total cruise arrivals were recorded at 937,000 visitors for January to August, reflecting a 33.9 percent increase over the 700,000 visitors for the corresponding period last year.
McNeill was speaking at the opening ceremony for JAPEX 2012 in Ocho Rios on Sunday.
As it relates to stopover arrivals, the minister said there was a 2 .4 percent increase for January to August over the same period in 2011, and preliminary figures are showing a five percent growth from September 1 to 27, which is a traditionally slow month.
He stated that through the efforts of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC) efforts are being made to “crank things up even further" for the coming winter season.
He informed that adequate airlift has been secured from the island's major markets, as well as from new and emerging ones.
McNeill underscored the government's ongoing thrust to upgrade the island’s tourism infrastructure, and announced plans to rebrand the town of Ocho Rios under the theme: "Where Eden meets the Ocean".
JAPEX, being held over three days, is the premier marketing and trade show for Jamaica's tourism sector, providing a setting for local stakeholders to meet, network and negotiate with travel wholesalers and tour operators from around the world.