|Tourism minister says outlook for 2003 encouraging
Thursday, January 16, 2003
|ASSAMBA... stopover arrivals during the year 2003 could exceed the year 2000|
TOURISM Minister Aloun Assamba told Parliament Tuesday that Jamaica's outlook for the winter season and the rest of the year is encouraging.
The tourism minister, who was responding to questions raised by Ed Bartlett, the Opposition tourism spokesman, said that figures for December 2002 indicated that stopover arrivals for the month increased by 20 per cent over 2001 and by six per cent over 2000. She said 2000 was used as the benchmark because the terrorist attack in New York in September 2001 had a negative effect on tourism globally.
Projections for 2003, said the minister said, indicated that stopover arrivals during the year 2003 could exceed the year 2000 level by two per cent. "This represents a significant recovery for the industry as the year 2000 was not only the best year in terms of stopover arrivals to Jamaica, but it was also the one in which the growth rate of six per cent was more than twice that achieved over the four-year period up to 1999," she said.
The tourism minister also noted that cruise ship arrivals achieved the one million passenger mark in 2002, an increase of 10.2 per cent over year 2000. But in a direct reference to the objections of taxi drivers to new parking arrangements at cruise ship ports, Assamba stated that the projected arrival of 300,000 cruise passengers in the first quarter of 2003 required assurance to the cruise ships that the security measures and safety measures they require were in place. The new arrangements, she said, were a result of heightened security concerns worldwide in wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Assamba told the House that the holding area for vehicles offering tours in Ocho Rios would be ready for today, with Montego Bay implementing similar changes next month. The new system requires that ground transport be dispatched via a ticketing system to pick up passengers at the pier.