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Jamaica tourism market: Increased visitors from Russia, Prague and Latin America
Travel and Tourism in Jamaica - a new market research report on 2014-04-24 07:01:03
The continued removal of barriers to travel and tourism in Jamaica, such as improving the visa regime, was a part of Jamaica´s strategy in 2012 to attract visitors to the island. While airlift was boosted in several regions such as Russia, Prague and Latin America, marketing efforts were jointly coordinated with carriers. For example, a partnership between the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Copa Airlines on a number of joint promotional activities is expected to bring in additional tourists, specifically Colombian nationals, whose visa requirement was waived in December 2011, and tourists from Panama City by means of an increased service in October 2012. Attracting visitors from Brazil, Russia, India and China was important for Jamaica in 2012. Jamaica continues to tap new sources for opportunities, while boosting destination marketing efforts.

Authorities have been successful in arranging for new flights in order to boost tourist arrivals. Jamaica secured approximately 10,000 new airline seats from South America in 2012. An inaugural non-stop Transaero flight from Moscow to Montego Bay began on 1 January 2013. A flight service from the Czech Republic started on 28 December 2012. British Airways is maintaining its three flights from London to Kingston and Virgin Atlantic its three flights from London to Montego Bay. In addition, discussions with Copa Airlines has led to a doubling of its service from four to eight flights weekly from Latin America to Jamaica, which began in the 2012 winter season.

Visitors were interested in learning about Jamaica´s culture and wanted to make a difference even on their holidays in 2012. Community tourism in Jamaica allows tourists to experience the island´s people, lifestyle and heritage instead of the usual destinations and resorts. Community tourism initiatives embrace culture, heritage, ecology, the environment, education, health and other special-interest tourism products. Proponents of community tourism launched their initiative known as ´Villages as Businesses´ in 2012, which aims to sustain communities through training and development. Sandals Foundation has invested in the training of communities and assisted to upgrade the infrastructure in the communities near Sandals resorts in Jamaica.

The Casino Gaming (Prescribed Games) Regulations 2012 and the Casino Gaming (Application for Declaration of Approved Integrated Resort Development) Regulations 2012 were passed unanimously by the Senate. The two bills will allow casinos to be built in Jamaica for the first time. Companies interested will be allowed to apply for licences in 2013. This includes casino resort companies. This may be a lucrative way of diversifying tourism products and attracting investment in Jamaica.

Because of Hurricane Sandy, Jamaica closed its international airports and diverted cruises in November 2012. British Airways was forced to cancel flights from London to Kingston and Virgin Atlantic delayed its departures from London to Montego Bay. Allure of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, and three Carnival ships were all diverted from Jamaica. Carnival Valour did not dock at Montego Bay. Besides limiting tourism flows inbound in late 2012, Hurricane Sandy did not cause major destruction within Jamaica but it did damage the northeastern US, the principal source of tourists for the island. Around 40% of arrivals come from Boston, New York City, Washington and Philadelphia and these were the areas that were hurt the most by the hurricane. Arrivals was not greatly hampered by Hurricane Sandy although they were slightly down in October 2012 compared to the same month in 2011.

Incidents of sexual assault, violence, robbery, homophobia and murder alienate potential tourists who search for other places that pose no threat to their personal safety. Crime levels are high, particularly in the capital city, Kingston. Gang violence and shootings are usually within inner city neighbourhoods such as West Kingston, Grant´s Pen, August Town, Harbour View, Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay.

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