Canada Tops U.S. In Additional Seats To Jamaica This Winter

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett addresses the opening press conference at JAPEX.

There will be 42,000 more air seats from Canada to Jamaica this winter, a record number and more than the 38,000 seats added from the U.S. market for the coming season.

“I’m excited about that. Canada is now back with a bang,” said Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett at the opening press conference for JAPEX 2018, the island’s annual B2B tourism showcase.

“We’ve been aggressive about pursuing additional airlift. The U.S. will have 870,000 seats, up 38,000 this winter, while Canada will have 370,000 seats, up 42,000,” Bartlett said, while congratulating the results achieved by Regional Director, Canada Philip Rose and his team at the Jamaica Tourist Board Canada.

Bartlett also celebrated the fact that Jamaican tourism has grown consistently every year for the past three decades.

“Last year we had record arrivals growth of 12.1%, including 500,000 more visitors, both records. Year to date the growth has continued, up 5.4% so far this year. We’ve had 2.9 million visitors and brought in US$2.1 billion this year already, and we’re on pace to surpass last year’s total of 4.3 million visitors and US$3 billion in revenues.”

As the numbers grow, so does the pipeline for additional capacity. Bartlett says 7,500 new hotel rooms will open by 2021, with projects including a nearly complete expansion at Half Moon, the late-fall opening of the 120-room S Hotel on Montego Bay’s Hip Strip and the November official open of Excellence Oyster Bay, where 315 suites are currently in soft launch. An 1,100-room Hard Rock Hotel has broken ground, and an expansion at the recently opened Jewel Grande is in the works. Playa Hotels, which is rapidly expanding its Jamaica portfolio, announced during the press conference that bringing the Panama Jack resort brand to Jamaica is a priority.

Other future projects include a 750-room H10 resort in Trelawny, currently in the approvals process, and 500 new rooms coming to the nation’s capital Kingston. 

Donnie Dawson, Deputy Director, Tourism for the Americas, says the JTB is “committed to servicing the retail trade.” A trade blitz started early this year, and Dawson says over 2,000 North American agents will be educated on Jamaica developments before the winter season gets underway.”

“There’s a buzz out there. Jamaica is happening,” Dawson said. “We want Jamaica to just roll off agents’ tongues when people ask them for a wonderful sun destination.”

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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