On Site: Jamaica to Expect Casinos in Two Years

Approximately 136 representatives from 98 buyer companies along with 248 participants from 91 supplier companies congregated in Jamaica this week to attend the 21st annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX). Travel Agent attended a conference held by the Ministry of Tourism, where we heard from the Honorable Edmund Bartlett and Director of Tourism John Lynch that 2011 has been an excellent year for Jamaica with big plans on the horizon.

Director of Tourism John Lynch told us that the casino legislation is set to go to Parliament shortly. "We are in negotiations with the prospective people," Lynch told us. Anticipated casinos would be dependent on a minimum amount of rooms in the prospective hotels. At the moment this process is set without a date, but Lynch anticipates that Jamaica will see casinos in no less than a year and a half to two years.

"I am pleased to say that despite the looming global economic crisis and the many other challenges we face our arrival figures continue to climb," Bartlett says. "Provisional figures indicate that there was a 5.7 percent increase in total visitors between January to August of this year with 2,098,964 arrivals compared to the 1,985,784 recorded for the same period last year."

It was reported that Jamaica has earned $1.480 billion through August.

Cruise arrivals also jumped by 13.6 percent this year to date.

Jamaica is working hard to target the Latin American market, and has been able to secure 10,000 new airline seats from South America to Jamaica. "With the new service offered by Copa, as of December 11, 2011, Copa flights through Panama City into Montego Bay will be available from 58 cities in North, Central and South America," says Bartlett.

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