BUJU BOOST

Tourism ministry reports concert bumps up March visitor arrivals

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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Kingston welcomed just over 2,400 visitors last Friday ahead of Buju Banton's Long Walk to Freedom concert, the tourism ministry reported yesterday.

The concert, the ministry said in a news release, contributed to a significant increase in visitors to the island this month, influenced by the staging of a number of other “mega festivals”.

According to the ministry, preliminary figures indicate that 2,434 foreign nationals arrived at Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport last Friday. “This represents a 143 per cent increase over the same day last year,” the tourism ministry said, adding that data from the Jamaica Tourist Board also show that 7,389 foreign nationals arrived in Montego Bay on Friday, a 58 per cent increase over the same day last year.

“The arrivals over the weekend have been very strong, and as an industry we are ecstatic,” the release quotes Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett. “Our focus on our core tourist arrivals remains on strong footing from our key source markets.”

Banton's concert at the National Stadium Saturday night drew more than 30,000 people, many of whom flew in from North America, Europe, and as far away as Australia.

Yesterday, additional data provided by Delano Seiveright, communications strategist and advisor in the Ministry of Tourism, show that total visitor arrivals for the period March 1-17 amounted to 148,052, a 24.8 per cent increase over the 118,597 recorded for the same period last year.

Breaking down the numbers, Seiveright said that for the period March 1-17 this year Montego Bay welcomed 125,069 visitors, an increase of 22.7 per cent compared to 101,967 for the same period last year, while the numbers for Kingston were 22,983, up 38.2 per cent over the same period last year.

“This is 29,455 more arrivals compared to the same period in 2018,” Seiveright pointed out.

Bartlett noted that in addition to the Buju Banton concert, the island benefited tremendously from the staging of mega culinary and entertainment events this month, among them the second annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, and the inaugural Jamaica Rum Festival.

“I am very happy to announce that tourism arrivals have been impacted positively in March from these mega festivals. They provided an opportunity for us to broaden the market by bringing more people to the destination to meet a variety of passion points which embody the very best of our food, culture and music,” he said.


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