KINGSTON, Jamaica; October 03, 2018: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett departed the island yesterday for Paris, to finalise air service arrangements, which will result in the development of direct flights from Montego Bay to France, in the near future.
“I am very excited to announce that Jamaica is going to be increasing connectivity with France. The Director of Tourism and I will be meeting with Air France/KLM and French Tourism Investors, to tie up an arrangement that will certainly benefit our country,” said Minister Bartlett.
The discussion initially took place during a courtesy call by outgoing French Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Jean-Michel Despax to the Minister’s New Kingston office.
During this meeting, a decision was also made for the Minister’s delegation to visit officials such as the Jamaican Ambassador to France and a new marketing company.
“We are being invited to meet in France with the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Hon. Matthias Fekl, the French Aviation Authority, Air France and a number of investors who now have an interest in a Tourism Product in Jamaica. One of these investors is Sofitel [a chain of luxury hotels based in Paris, France, and owned by AccorHotels],” said the Minister.
According to data from the Jamaica Tourist Board, stopover arrivals from France in 2017 saw a 40.2% increase in arrivals, with 7400 visitors to the island. However, arrivals have not been consistent over the past seven years. The island had its peak in 2014 with 12,087 stopover visitors.
“We truly believe the arrivals from the French market will not only stabilise but see a significant increase once we improve the connectivity. There is a deep interest in our culture, food and music from French Nationals and of course our Jamaicans living in France. We will no doubt have to improve our marketing in this region, but I look forward to welcoming more French tourists once we have finalised this deal,” said the Minister.
Minister Bartlett and Director of Tourism, Donovan White will return to the island on October 7, 2018.