Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill (left), conversing with a group of Belgian tourists, while touring Culture Yard, in Trench Town, St Andrew, on February 6. The visit by the Minister along with other government officials, was part of activities to mark the 69th birthday of reggae icon, Bob Marley. JIS Photo
By Garfield L. Angus
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister of tourism and entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill, says Jamaica’s winter tourist season, now in its second month, is performing well, with growth in arrivals over last year.
McNeill, who spoke with reporters on Thursday, while touring several sites in Trench Town, St Andrew, as part of activities to mark the 69th birthday of reggae icon, Bob Marley, said the preliminary figure is showing an increase of 4.7 percent over last year.
The minister noted that the figure could have been better if weather conditions in the United States had not affected flights coming to Jamaica.
“We are talking to our partners to see how we can arrange it. There is nothing to really worry or panic about, but the big picture is that Jamaica continues to do very well in its tourist arrivals,” McNeill said.
He lauded the effort of groups and individuals as well as agencies, to keep the Bob Marley celebrations going on his birthday.
“We market Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean, but there is so much more we have to offer, and what we want to do is to determine how we can develop this into a more formal tour,” the minister said.
McNeill said people come to Kingston, and “they want to see what it is we have to offer, and we have to ensure that we package it in a way where it is saleable to the maximum.”
The minister urged more Jamaicans, especially students, to visit the Trench Town area and to understand the history and heritage.