Addressing business interests and tourism stakeholders at the unveiling of 20 automated kiosks at the Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, on December 16, Mr. Bartlett said the new machines will ensure that visitors are processed “in the quickest time possible”.
“The point of arrival is always that moment of truth, and these kiosks will ensure better facilitation and seamlessness for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected for this winter tourist season and beyond,” the Minister explained.
“This is the start of the traditional high season, which we expect to be a record-breaking winter season. One of the reasons for this record growth comes from the fact that we have 120,000 new seats from destinations around the world, 89,000 of which are from our main source market, the United States,” he noted.
Cabinet, in July, signed off on US$1.3 million to acquire additional automated border-control kiosks to be used at the island’s two major international airports.
The aim, Mr. Bartlett said, is to have world-class tools to significantly reduce the processing of passengers traversing through the Sangster International Airport and also at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
The kiosk project, he added, involves a partnership with the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), through the Ministry of National Security, to reduce congestion at Immigration and Customs during peak periods.
In the meantime, Mr. Bartlett said the United States market continues to over-perform, accounting for 65 per cent of Jamaica’s stopover arrivals and 15 per cent of cruise arrivals, totaling 80 per cent.
“So, if we grow phenomenally from our main source market, growth will be secured. So this winter season we are expecting growth in the region of five per cent, and we are excited about that,” the Minister argued.
“Air connectivity is another major strategy we have in our arsenal. We have also been aggressively pursuing new markets and gateways and today we have received the latest flight out of Canada, the inaugural Swoop Airlines out of Hamilton, which saw a full flight of 196 passengers. This will help us to grow our Canadian market and add to the many other air connectivity arrangements that have come on stream recently,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett said that Eastern Europe is also emerging as a major market for Jamaica, noting that the numbers have been nothing short of phenomenal.
“Croatia and Russia have been looking real good, and there are some other Eastern bloc countries that are slowly coming to fruition. We are on track to have another record-breaking year,” the Minister said.
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