Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tourism up 3.7 Percent In Jamaica / The Marley Family Live In Concert - " Could You Be Loved"

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Despite the negative impact of the global recession on world tourism, Jamaica's tourism sector has grown by 3.7 per cent since the start of the year, with 40,000 more tourists vacationing in the island over the similar period last year.

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, said that "for the last eight months, Jamaica is one of only three countries in the world that has had growth every single month except for the month of March".

He noted however that "April's growth was a phenomenal 7.8 per cent, which reflected the fact that March's downturn created an April benefit."

As it relates to projections for the rest of the year, Bartlett said that the months of September, October and November are always challenging.

"This is usually the time when the industry tries to refurbish itself and to make adjustments. In some cases, a number of rooms have to be closed off in order to repair those rooms and that naturally takes with it some level of staff attrition and or rotation," Bartlett noted.

Turning to the temporary closure of the Iberostar Hotel in Rose Hall, he said that this provides an opportunity for the hotel to prepare for the winter tourism season.

"So, the workers who are out, I am sure that several of them, if not all of them may very well be back for the start of the winter season. But (other) options exist, as there are other opportunities that are growing in the industry. Secrets will open 700 rooms by March 2010, and they are recruiting as we speak," he pointed out, noting that the 643-room Palmyra Hotel is also slated to open next March.

"So the opportunities exist for workers, who have been displaced, to find employment within the sector, because recruitment is currently going on for an additional 13,000 rooms," Bartlett said.

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