Jamaica’s success in attracting UK visitors has been highlighted at a time when UK outbound travel has fallen at its sharpest rate since the 1970s.In the new annual Travel Trends report by the Office for National Statistics, Jamaica was one of only three countries praised for rising UK visitor numbers between 2008 and 2009.
The other two countries named were Egypt and Lithuania. The report shows that overall, the number of overseas visits made by UK residents in 2009 was 10.4million less than in 2008 – a dip of 15%.
Many destinations suffered huge losses from the UK market, including Mexico, which was down 41%.
John Lynch, director of tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board, said: “This is no mean feat for Jamaica. In 2009, Brits were abandoning overseas holidays at the fastest rate in decades, and yet they flocked to Jamaica’s shores in increased numbers.
"Even with the whole of Europe on their doorstep, UK holidaymakers recognised the great value, huge variety and quality of tourism product offered in Jamaica. We should all be very proud of this achievement.”
The decline in overseas visits by UK residents follows a long period of overall growth, with visits growing at an average of 4% per year over the preceding 25 years. The report also shows that UK residents’ visits abroad have got longer in recent years, from an average stay of 9.9 nights in 2007, to 10.2 nights in 2008 and 10.5 nights in 2009.
For the full report see www.statistics.gov.uk