‘Dudus’ impact on tourism disputed

The decline in stopover tourists to
Jamaica in June due to visitors steering away from the island during the
security forces’ operation in West Kingston in late May, was not as bad as
previously reported by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), new data
reveals.

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)
showed that stopover arrivals for June declined by 2.6 per cent, and not the
3.3 per cent reported last month.

The PIOJ said that economic output
from the hotel and restaurant sector fell by 1.6 per cent during the three
months ending June as stopover arrivals dropped 1.3 per cent during the
quarter.

Stopover arrivals in May fell by
2.4 per cent after the number of visitors that overnighted in the island
climbed in April by 1.7 per cent, which meant that stayover tourists was
supposed to have fallen in number by 3.3 per cent in June compared to the same
month in 2009. The actually reduction was 2.6 per cent, according to the JTB.

The decline coincided with police
and military efforts to quell violence occurring in Kingston around the time
the security forces were trying to arrest Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke for
extradition to the United States to face gun and drug trafficking charges.

Interestingly, the number of
visitors arriving from the US in June was actually slightly higher — 0.1 per
cent — than the same month last year, while stayover tourists from Canada fell
by three per cent and from Europe fell by 10.9 per cent.

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