CANADA continued to perform as a prime growth market for Jamaica’s tourism product, having recorded a 16.5 per cent increase in stopover arrivals from the North American country last year.
Since the drive to target Canadian tourists began in 2005, arrivals have increased year on year by 21.6 per cent on average over the last six years.
Nearly 380,000 Canadian tourists stayed over in Jamaica last year, compared to 325,200 the year before and 116,900 in 2005.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals out of the UK and the rest of Europe continued on its downward path since 2008, when the UK government announced plans to restructure the air passenger duty, which has more than doubled the levy on travelers to the Caribbean.
In 2011, 173,507 stopover arrivals were reported from the UK and 253,045 from all of Europe, which were, respectively, 5.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent lower than the numbers in 2010.
The US market, from where tourist arrivals grew year on year in 2010 and 2009, saw a decline in 2011 — stopover arrivals fell by 1.4 per cent last year.
However, the Midwest segment of the US market continued to show growth, having posted three consecutive years of increases in stopover arrivals up to 2011.
MBJ Airports Limited, the majority owner and operator of the Sangster International Airport, said that it is focused on developing flights from the Midwest and western United States to the Montego Bay airport.