According to the Jamaica Tourism Board (JTB), the growth rate in tourism market in Jamaica grew by 5.4 percent during the first half of 2018. Stopover tourist arrivals rose by 5.9 percent, while cruise arrivals rose by 4.8 percent over the same period in 2017. Between January 2018 and June 2018, Jamaica had over 1.26 million stopover visitors and more than one million cruise arrivals. There were over 100,000 more visitors to Jamaica in 2018 than in 2017, which resulted in a considerable increase in foreign exchange earnings. Stopover arrivals represented US$1.45 billion in earnings, while cruise visitors accounted for $100.6 million. This was an increase of 7.3 percent with a total of $1.556 billion. The increases were attributed to the quick and sustained initiatives implemented by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and Director of Tourism Donovan White. Their actions succeeded in mitigating potential negative outcomes that might have arisen from the enhanced security measures imposed in the parish of St. James. On January 18, 2018, the State of Public Emergency was issued for Montego Bay and the surrounding area in St. James after an increase in crime. The Canadian government revised its travel advice for Jamaica in response to the higher crime rate by telling travelers from Canada to stay in resort areas and not go beyond their boundaries. Bartlett recently reported that strong marketing engagements that brought Jamaican representatives in direct contact with key stakeholders on the island and around the world helped to mitigate any impact of the measures and also brought growth in the number of arrivals to the country. While the enhanced security measures prompted concerns locally and globally, several overseas partners welcomed the actions as a necessary step and supported Jamaica’s security programs and its attempt to make the country safer for everyone.
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