Onsite: Decline in Jamaica Visitors Due to Passport Restrictions

NEW YORK CITY-Travel Agent attended Tuesday's Autumn Luncheon Meeting hosted by the Jamaica-American Chamber of Commerce, Inc., where newly appointed Jamaica Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told attendees passport restrictions implemented in January led to a 10-12 percent decline in visitors for the year. In fact, Bartlett said there were declines in arrivals for seven months of the year before September finally saw an increase of 4.8 percent, an indication that things are perhaps returning to normal. Bartlett says the country intends to keep goals for arrivals high for the next five years. Reiterating comments he made to Travel Agent during an interview we conducted with him shortly after he was appointed, Bartlett re-emphasized his goal to reach five million total visitors by 2012. "The most important thing to our country is the investment climate in Jamaica and the business environment that we create," he says. "I want to be clear for all to hear that we will be fostering for investment never seen before." JP)