Jamaica to Get Tourism Boost With More Airlift This Summer from U.S.

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    Jamaica is set to welcome even more travelers this summer after it secured more than 1.4 million air seats this season, an increase of 108,872 or 8.4 percent over last summer. Jamaica’s primary source market, the United States, has seen the biggest growth having secured more than 100,000 additional seats for May through August period. Jamaica tourism officials say this is strong evidence of the confidence U.S. airline partners have placed in the destinations.

    “We are looking to build on the strong start to 2019, having welcomed over 1.3 million visitors through the end of March, which generated just under $950 million in revenue for Jamaica’s tourism sector,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s director of tourism. “The groundwork has been laid in the first quarter and with the increased seat capacity this summer, we anticipate continued growth and increased earnings for the destination.”

    The Northeast region has seen the most significant increase, accounting for more than half of the seats secured. From New York-JFK, JetBlue has added more capacity and increased frequency to Kingston and Montego Bay, while Delta has added daily service to Kingston. From Newark, United has increased frequency to Montego Bay from Baltimore, and Southwest has added flights to Montego Bay.

    The Southeast region has added more than 20,000 additional seats for the summer to Montego Bay. American has increased flights from Charlotte, Delta has boosted its capacity from Atlanta and JetBlue will be adding a second daily flight from Orlando during August. Spirit has introduced new service to Montego Bay and Kingston. From New Orleans, Vacation Express will reintroduce its charter service to Montego Bay starting May 25 and will operate through to June 22.

    In the Midwest region, Southwest begins new weekly service on Saturdays from St. Louis to Montego Bay starting June 9. In the West, United is adding extra flights Tuesdays and Thursdays from Houston (IAH) to Montego Bay. In addition, Sun Country will begin new service from Dallas (DFW) to Montego Bay starting May 24. This service will operate through to Aug. 19, 2019.

    “It is encouraging to see that growth is not only from the established markets,” said White. “As we open new gateways, we are attracting visitors from new markets.”

    Beyond the U.S. market, Europe has grown its overall seat capacity to Jamaica by 9,257 seats or up 5.5 percent compared with last year. This is due primarily to the addition of new service from Manchester, larger airplanes from British Airways out of Gatwick and a TUI flight out of Manchester. TUI also has doubled its seat capacity from Belgium and Holland with longer rotations. In the Caribbean, new direct service from Barbados twice weekly on Caribbean Airlines largely accounts for the 6 percent increase this summer.

    For more information about travel statistics to Jamaica, click on jtbonline.org. For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica call 800-526-2422 or click on visitjamaica.com or view the JTB blog at islandbuzzjamaica.com.

    By James Shillinglaw

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