Tourist arrivals from several South American and Eastern European countries are expected to boost through the summer and late winter in Jamaica, after the country secured an airlift out of these areas.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeil made the announcement earlier on this week at a Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) media roundtable held at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay. He gave credit to development being undertaken to diversify the source market and increase flights to the island from major players.
McNeil said, “We have successfully broken into the Latin American market and have made significant headway in reducing the barriers to travel. Specifically, we have relaxed the visa requirements for nationals from Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, and we have implemented direct airlift arrangements with Copa Airlines. Additionally, I am sure you will have noticed that we have improved the experience of arrival in Jamaica.”
Copa Airlines will begin providing flights to Kingston and Montego Bay from its hub in Panama this summer. They have increased their flights to these to destinations to four up from two per week. Dr. McNeil also revealed that the Eastern European market was also showing “real solid potential,” with countries like Russia starting to produce good numbers.
Recently Jamaica’s cabinet approved a visa waiving requirement for Russian, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine nationals. There are also negotiations now underway to increase flights out of Moscow for the 2013/2014 winter period. At present the island gets flights from Moscow every ten days they are however trying to increase it to two flights on a ten day rotation.
Additionally the charter service from the Czech Republic will continue throughout winter, while Thomas Cook will be providing a new service out of Stockholm starting in November with expansion of the service expected by December. Carrier Virgin Atlantic will also increase its services from the United Kingdom to three weekly flights from Montego Bay, which is up from two. In the meantime, TUI will offer a fifth flight from the UK in summer 2014. North American flights will also see increases. As of July 1st, Kingston will be the final destination for Air Canada’s leisure carrier, Rouge. The Tourism Minister also highlighted that Air Canada Vacations has outlined plans that will offer significant growth plans for Jamaica.