News - Real Estate - Tourism (January
Jamaican tourism minister upbeat about industry prospects
Jamaican Industry and
Tourism Minister, Aloun Ndombet Assamba, has expressed optimism at
the prospects for further growth in the tourism sector for
Minister Assamba said industry
players were heartened by the high number of forward bookings,
which should translate to high arrivals, while noting that for the
period January to April 2004, Jamaica experienced the best winter
tourist season ever with an increase of 9.5 percent over the
Minister Assamba was addressing a
meeting of members of the diplomatic corps last week.
Turning to cruise ship arrivals,
she said that although Jamaica did not see high arrival figures in
2004, as some of the other Caribbean destinations, the sector
would be back on track this year, with the introduction of
additional berthing facilities in Montego Bay, while some cruise
lines had added Jamaica to their travel itinerary.
She also informed that a breasting
dolphin, to accommodate larger vessels, was slated for completion
in June, while a floating tender pier for pleasure boats and
ships, would begin operating by next weekend.
Turning to development prospects
for the industry, the Tourism Minister told the diplomats that
recent investment in the sector by several major groups, should
result in the addition of over 5,000 rooms to the hotel inventory
over the next five years.
She noted that the magnitude of
tourism investments over such a short period, and the heightened
interest in the destination by both business and leisure
travellers across the globe, was unparalleled.
She said further, that the
granting of most approved destination status to Jamaica by China
was a major incentive to the sector, as it should significantly
open up the country to the potentially large audience providing
not only a valuable new source of tourism revenue but also a
medium for enriching cross-cultural exchange.
Furthermore, the Minister said, the
introduction of several new attractions, the increase in airlift,
infrastructural improvements, the implementation of the tourism
master plan and major events, stood to further increase the
development of the sector.
Mrs. Assamba also used the
opportunity to express sympathies to bereaved members of the
corps, who had suffered loss of property or families during the
tsunami, which affected sections of South East Asia and Africa.