travel

Jamaica expects tourism boost after hurricanes batter rest of Caribbean

Runaway Bay is one of Jamaica's most beautiful beaches. — AFP picRunaway Bay is one of Jamaica's most beautiful beaches. — AFP picDOHA, Sept 28 — Jamaica expects an increase in the number of tourists to the country as travellers rebook holidays to avoid other destinations in the Caribbean that were hit by hurricanes, the country’s tourism minister said yesterday.

Jamaica was largely left untouched by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which swept through the Caribbean this month, killing dozens and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said the increase in visitors by travellers who changed their holidays to Jamaica would be around 1 to 2 per cent this year, and the island expects to get US$150 million (RM633.6 million) to US$200 million in additional tourism revenue.

“The experience is that people who have committed already to the Caribbean, who have made bookings for the Caribbean, are going to go to the Caribbean, and so the issue is where in the Caribbean are they going to go,” Edmund told Reuters at a World Tourism Day event in Doha.

The number of overseas visitors to Jamaica this year could now increase by around 10 per cent, which he said would be more than the original forecast of 8.5 per cent.

He said the trend of travellers rebooking their holidays within the region was likely to continue into 2018. — Reuters

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