With earnings for the first four months of this year at an all-time high of over US$1 billion, or a 6.5 percent increase over last year, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett announced recently that Jamaica’s tourism industry is heading for a historic one million visitors before the end of this month.

“We are closing in on the first half of 2017 and we ended the month of May with a record 8.7 percent increase in stop-overs over the same month last year,” said Minister Bartlett.

The 971,000 passengers brought in was just 30,000 shy of the first million target which, he said, will be reached by mid-June “and when that happens it will be a record because it will be the first time in our history that we will make a million visitors before the end of June.”

He was speaking at an official welcome event for the inauguration of Southwest Airlines newest service, non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

This brings to four the number of US gateways being operated by Southwest to Jamaica since commencing international flights here in 2014.

Minister Bartlett, who arrived on the Southwest inaugural flight along with Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook, Southwest’s Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, Ellen Torbert and other Southwest executives, hailed the airline as the most connected airline in the USA today. “Southwest is moving from more gateways and secondary airports than any other airline in the US and therefore the connection with Jamaica is perfect,” he said. The low-cost US carrier moves 120 million passengers annually.

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With earnings for the first four months of this year at an all-time high of over US$1 billion, or a 6.5 percent increase over last year, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett announced recently that Jamaica’s tourism industry is heading for a historic one million visitors before the end of this...

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