Jamaica eyes tourists from Japan and India

Jamaica is targeting Japan and India as the country continues to expand its source markets for tourists.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, made the disclosure at a media briefing at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston on Tuesday (October 1).

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett

He noted that Japan was a “very good market” for Jamaica over 20 years ago, before varying factors affecting the Asian nation, including economic issues, resulted in a downturn in arrivals from that country.

“The average [visitor] spend…is somewhere in the region of US$125. So we expect that for them (Japanese), it perhaps would be closer to US$200.”

— Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett

“But the Japanese economy rebounded and they are doing extremely well. Their outbound market is over 20 million (travellers) and their appetite for Jamaica and the Caribbean is returning,” he said.

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Japanese tourists in Mexico. Jamaica’s tourism Minister hopes to attract more Japanese tourists to the island.

“So the arrangements for airlift [out of Japan] into Jamaica are in a far better place at this time than they were over the last 20 years,” he noted.

Mr. Bartlett said that the Japanese market is “lucrative”, with the length of stay of the Japanese visitor being about twice that of tourists from the United States.

 “The average [visitor] spend, now, is somewhere in the region of US$125. So we expect that for them (Japanese), it perhaps would be closer to US$200. So we would be expecting a higher level of spend from the Japanese visitor,” he noted.

In relation to India, Mr. Bartlett pointed out that in addition to the Asian nation being regarded as the fastest growing economy globally, it boasts, arguably, “the best wedding market in the world”.

“Indian weddings are the envy of every destination because they are large and high-spending. One of the good things about the Indians is that they are very family-oriented. So when there is a wedding, everybody comes for a long period of time and so you end up with a very large and reliable flow from that market,” he pointed out.

Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica is seeking to tap into that market, noting that “work has already started. We have a representative in India now and relationships are being forged”.

“We are partnering with some of the tour operators and travel agents there. Hopefully, come April next year, we will be able to participate in a mega event that is happening in India where, hopefully, we will be able to announce air and other connections that will start the flow of Indian tourists into Jamaica,” he added.