Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has underscored that the recent $10 increase in the head tax paid by incoming airline passengers will facilitate bigger and better strategies to market destination Jamaica.
Speaking yesterday at the 50th Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at the Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, Bartlett said the additional funds which the government hopes to obtain from the increase, will go exclusively towards the marketing of Jamaica in new and emerging markets.
He outlined that Jamaica will be moving to open new doors in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are known as the BRIC countries as well as Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey, which are commonly referred to as the MIST countries.
Bartlett expressed that “these countries have become the new target for our marketing team and the funds which will come from the increase in the head tax will allow for better marketing of the destination. While there will be an increase of $10 in Jamaica’s case, we should bear in mind that in St. Lucia there was a $35 hike which means we took several issues into consideration before approving the new rate.”
Bartlett added that “Jamaica’s entry into these new markets will require in the region of $2.5-$3 million as start-up capital. These new markets are long haul destinations and we must look at the aviation landscape, which has changed dramatically since the economic recession gripped the world two years ago. In addition, there is the possibility that two or three companies may soon own all the airlines, which means that they will be careful in selecting destinations to which their aircraft travel.”