The Jamaica Tourist Board has announced that 2008 was another year of growth for its tourism industry. The island’s stopover arrivals increased by 3.9 percent, with a total of 1,769,271 visitors. Of that number, 1,150,942 of the arrivals came from the United States – representing a 1.6 percent increase from that market over 2007.

“The United States has historically been the largest source market for Jamaica’s tourism,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Though current economic hardships pose a challenge to the travel industry, we are confident that travelers from the United States will consider Jamaica’s accessibility and value when considering a vacation destination in the coming year.”

The number of travelers to Jamaica from the U.S. continues to remain very strong, with the U.S. making up more than 65 percent of all the island’s visitors in 2008.

Poised for Growth
With more hotel rooms and attractions coming on board, travelers will have more variety than ever when planning a Jamaican getaway.
· The Riu Montego Bay opened last fall with 681 rooms
· The Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Resort, Iberostar Rose Hall Suites and Iberostar Rose Hall Grand now offer 978 rooms combined
· Scheduled to open in June this year, Solis the Palmyra Resort & Spa, the island’s first luxury beachfront residential community, offers 299 guestrooms plus one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, penthouses and private villas
· The Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort, part of the Fiesta Hotel Group, feature 1,056 rooms

A range of new and expanded attractions is also adding to Jamaica’s new dynamic. The attractions are themed to showcase the island’s rich history and cultural heritage while at the same time being entertaining and informative. Opened last summer, Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s new environmentally friendly attractions, which has been a magnet for new and returning visitors.

Travelers across the U.S. will find that Jamaica is easy to get to, with service from the major airlines out of many major gateways across the U.S. Furthermore, Jet Blue is adding new nonstop service from New York to Montego Bay in May 2009, providing another option for travelers.