Jamaica's Minister of Tourism lauds successful start to rebuild German tourism market
MONTEGO BAY - Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica’s push to rebuild the German tourism market is bearing fruit with over 20,000 visitors expected from that gateway this year.
Between January and April this year, the island welcomed 9,800 German tourists but the rate of arrival will be increased significantly with the start of scheduled twice weekly service by Eurowings, a major subsidiary of Lufthansa Airlines, between Cologne/Bonn and Montego Bay.
Speaking at a press briefing following the arrival of the inaugural Eurowings flight, Minister Bartlett said with the resurgence of the German market, the aim was to attract over 50,000 annually by the year 2020.
“We are well on track now and this particular series of rotations which begins today and will be twice per week, on Mondays and Fridays, until the end of October, will bring some 20,524 more people into Jamaica out of Germany and they will be out of Cologne/Bonn and Berlin,” he said. Up to around 1998 Jamaica was getting an average 40,000 German tourists, mostly during the summer months.
The inaugural flight brought 291 passengers who were welcomed on arrival at the Sangster International Airport (SIA) by a team of tourism officials led by Minister Bartlett and included, among others, Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch; Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook and Chief Executive Officer of the SIA, Dr Rafael Echevarne.
Tourism officials are excited that the flights will be operating out of Cologne/Bonn International Airport. Minister Bartlett pointed out that this geographical zone is significant because it comprises the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region, recognized as the richest and most populous part of Germany “and arguably the most successful region in the entire field; so we’re drawing from a demographic that has the ability to spend.”
The German visitors will be spending two weeks or more on their Jamaican visit and it is expected that their spending power will be felt in various subsectors of the tourism industry.
Mr Pennicook subsequently disclosed that an agreement had been reached for the Eurowings service to continue into the traditional winter season with 15,000 air seats November through to April 2018. In total, there will be an additional 33,000 air seats into Jamaica for the winter season.
Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett is determined to see the local tourist industry retain a larger portion of the visitors’ spend. “Jamaica is on a very good path; we’re getting more rooms, more airlift, more visitors, we’re earning more and we need to do one more thing, we need to retain more of the dollar in Jamaica,” he said.
A strategy is to be pursued over the next few weeks “as we go on an all-out assault to retain a larger portion of the tourism expenditure in our destination,” Mr. Bartlett disclosed.