Jamaican holidays 'growing in popularity'
08 January 2016 10:50
Sun-seeking Britons could replace Barbados with Jamaica as their preferred Caribbean island to visit in 2016, according to new estimates.
Jamaica's tourism officials expect a 16% year-on-year rise in UK visitors to cause the shift in popularity towards its golden-beach resorts.
Its number of British visitors jumped from 128,000 between January and September 2014 to 149,000 in the corresponding timespan in 2015.
But, of course, even on an island paradise, holidaymakers can come unstuck if they are not properly prepared.
Take travel insurance, for example. A dream beach trip can turn into a nightmare scenario if tourists' passports or belongings go missing.
But holiday cover can guard against the worst that can happen, insuring against things such as lost luggage, missing passports and illnesses.
Wykeham McNeill, tourism minister for the island, told Press Association reporters that there are a range of attractions which are enticing UK holidaymakers.
Dr McNeill says these include:
- jerk chicken and other local dishes
- reggae music and other Caribbean sounds
- the beaches
- heritage sites
- new resorts
- sport, including Jamaica being the birthplace of Usain Bolt, the 100m Olympic champion
Extra flights 'providing boost'
Dr McNeill says that 2015 UK trade was enhanced by extra flights being put on. Distance is also a key factor in Britons spending more time in Jamaica than several other hotspots, he says.
The minister claims that tourists prefer to be more mobile and mix well with the locals.
He says beach-bound Britons love lapping up the sun's rays, but are also happy to visit the island's heritage sites.
Jamaica's tourism number crunchers say that European visits have increased by 8% overall. Danes, Irish people and Finns have provided the sharpest rise in numbers.