Tourism is Jamaica’s second largest earner of foreign currency.
Over the last 3 years, the industry has consistently been breaking its own records, setting a new record of 3.3 million visitors in calendar year 2012. However, if we focus on 2010-present, usually the best quarter for the industry has been Q1, the months January to March (the “Winter Tourist Season”).
Consistently we have seen an increase in the total number of visitors, with total visitors exceeding the 800,000 mark. For Q1 2013 the total number of visitors was 1,007,385. Although this is a substantial number, Jamaica actually experienced a 4% decline from Q1 2012’s 1,048,628. Q1’s decrease was largely attributable to the significant fall in visitor arrivals during February 2013.
For the month of March 2013, both the number of long stay visitors and the number of cruise ship visitors increased. In fact, total number of visitors from both sources for the February-March period increased by 18%, the highest percentage increase for the corresponding period since 2010 when it we had a 27% increase. Regardless, the total number of visitors in March 2013 was still less than March 2012.
Although cruise ship visitors in March are up marginally from February, March 148,022 visitors represent a 9% decline from the 161,794 visitors in March 2012. See the chart below.
On the other hand, March 2013 long stay visitors represent a 4% increase above March 2012 and 2011 and a 6% rise above March 2010. See the chart below.