Airlines say Jamaica remains in-demand destination by US travellersSunday, September 26, 2021
DALLAS, Texas — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has shared that the US-leg of his stakeholder engagement tour to increase arrivals to the destination, as well as foster further investment in the tourism sector, has so far been a major success.
“I am very happy with the outcome of our meetings so far in our largest source market, the United States. We have been strategically speaking with our key partners, marketing the destination, while also reassuring them that the destination is not only safe, but has so much to offer. The feedback has truly been phenomenal and we expect a large number of visitors from the United States in the coming months,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett is currently joined by the director of tourism, Donovan White; senior strategist in the tourism ministry, Delano Seiveright and deputy director of tourism for the Americas, Donnie Dawson. They, along with Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Chairman John Lynch, have so far met with senior executives from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and tourism investors.
They will also meet with officials from major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival as well as executives from Expedia Inc, the largest online travel agency in the world, the third-largest travel company in the US, and the fourth-largest travel company in the world.
The engagements are critical, as data received by the ministry indicated that the demand for travel to Jamaica has fallen in recent days.
Industry stakeholders believe that this is as a result of jitters caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19 globally.
“We remain very optimistic about the demand for the destination. Our partners have so far shared that despite the challenges, Jamaica is still the destination of choice for the US market. We are a safe destination with an effective Tourism Resilience Corridor, which has a low infection rate of less than one per cent. Additionally, our vaccination campaign for our tourism workers has proven to be reasonably successful so far,” Bartlett noted.
According to Bartlett, the airlines have highlighted that Jamaica remains a popular choice for their customers. Southwest executives shared that their flight operations into Montego Bay in the coming weeks and months are close to 2019 pre-pandemic record levels, signaling increased demand for destination Jamaica by US travellers.
American Airlines also disclosed that by December, Jamaica will see as much as 17 nonstop flights per day, from the world's largest airline American Airlines, as demand for the destination rises. The decision was unveiled by executives of the airline during a meeting with the minister and his senior officials at their global headquarters in Dallas, Texas.
They will also be utilising their new, large, wide-bodied Boeing 787 planes on several key routes to Jamaica starting November, as their data shows that Jamaica outweighed other Caribbean destinations by the users of their American Airlines Vacations platform.
According to Bartlett, American Airlines also intends to increase the number of daily flights between Kingston and Miami from the current position of one to three by December, and also offer three nonstop flights per week between Philadelphia and Kingston.
Bartlett and his team will later travel to the island's second-largest source market for tourism, Canada, to engage in meetings with all key partners. This will include airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Transat and Swoop. They will also meet with tour operators, tourism investors, trade and mainstream media and key Diaspora stakeholders.
Bartlett and his team are slated to return to the island on October 3.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login