Some 2.2 million tourists visited Jamaica in the first six months of the year, earning the country US$3.5 billion. That’s according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
“There is hardly a room that is available for you this summer. This will be the strongest July in our history, closing in on nearly 300,000 visitors”, the minister said at the ninth staging of “Christmas in July” at the AC Marriott hotel in Kingston.
Christmas in July is a tourism linkages initiative showcasing products from local manufacturers and artisans staged by partners in the tourism industry led by the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
Some 175 exhibitors were on display at the expo, chosen from 350 applicants.
Bartlett commended the participants on the quality of the products.
“The fact is you have been able to convert your creative ideas into goods that are pleasing to the visitors and have a value and a price. They not only provide a conversation piece for the visitor but are authentic”, the minister said.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett greets US Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry and Perry’s wife, Joyce at the Christmas in July event.
Welcoming members of the diplomatic corps to the event, Bartlett singled out the United States, represented by Jamaican-born Ambassador Nicholas Perry.
He said the American market was instrumental to the recovery of the hospitality sector, supplying 90 per cent of visitors during the first year after the pandemic.
“I say with all seriousness that the American market saved Jamaica during Covid”, Bartlett stated.
He said the tourism market from America continues to grow, with Jamaica now having access to 225 gateways in the United States.
Items on display at the ninth staging of Christmas in July this week.
The minister also stressed the importance of developing new markets in Asia and South America.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association Robert Russell underscored the importance of the industry partnering with local producers.
“They are not just suppliers; they are the heartbeat of our destination and ensure the sustainability of our local industry. When you showcase your products to the world you not only support livelihoods but also offer our guests an opportunity to connect to our culture”, Russell said.