Jamaica ranked in the top ten of best international destinations for US travel experts planning in 2016.
It gives industry validation for what travelers have known and valued about the island for a long time, according to the Travel Leaders Group’s authoritative 2016 Travel Trends Survey released days ago.
Caribbean cruises which include Jamaica ranked number 1; but separately Montego Bay, the island’s second city ranked 9th on the survey. The country maintained its position in ranking when compared with a year ago.
Jamaica welcomed 1.47 million cruise ship passengers between January and November 2016 which equates to 10 per cent higher than the previous year. Additionally stopover visitors or those who stay at hotels and rooms totaled 1.95 million over the same period or up 2.7 per cent. Thus total stay-and-ship visitors to the island hovers at 3.42 million, or a new record. Those numbers were supported by a growth in new hotel rooms and increases in air and cruise routes.
At the same time, Paris returned to number 7th after falling out of the top 10 a year ago due to fears related to terrorism. Another country climbing even faster is Cuba which formalised trade with the US after decades of blockages which still continue on paper.
“Havana, Cuba, jumped 12 places to number 49 overall, and among luxury travel agents it is ranked number 24,” said the Travel Group.
Cancun, Mexico at number 2 and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic at 7 are the cities within this region that rank higher than Montego Bay. Jamaica however is the only English speaking country in the region in the top 10 .
Within the US travel agents ranked Orlando as the top destination followed by Maui, Hawaii and New York City.
The results also reveal that 94.5% of travel agents surveyed state client spending will be the same or higher in 2017, based on actual booking data.
The Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents. The group generated gross travel sales of $21 billion. Travel Leaders Group said that it’s a leader in both the retail travel agency space and corporate travel.