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TTC Special: Italian tourism rediscovers the Caribbean

TTC Special: Italian tourism rediscovers the Caribbean

Negril, Jamaica, is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations among Italian tourists. Photo: Chee-Onn Leong/123rf

By Frank Martin

Italian tourism is increasingly attracted to the Caribbean not only for holidays but also for business.

2019 can be an excellent time for Italians who watch with interest the Caribbean paradisiacal islands.

Examples of regional islands that raise the interest of Italian tourists and businessmen are Jamaica, Antigua and Cuba.

Over the last years Jamaica has becoming more popular for Italians.

According to official sources of Jamaican tourism, that island is becoming more and more popular for Italians with Negril and Montego Bay being the biggest draws.

Last year Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett celebrated a meeting with Laurent Parent, Senior Executive for Alpitour World, Italy’s largest Tour operator.

One result was that Alpitour which owner of the Italian airline, NEOS, decided to increase the number of seats into Montego Bay, Jamaica from Italy using a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft started in May of 2018.

Parent, a Senior Executive for Alpitour World, Italy’s largest tour operator, noted in that moment that the new aircraft replaced existing scheduled for the Boeing 767 charter service between Milan and Montego Bay.

Bartlett noted that Italy is among the lead countries being targeted in Jamaica’s ongoing European tourism growth strategy which in 2017 recorded 325,804 European tourists approximately 31,000 more than in the year 2016. Jamaica welcomed in 2016 near 14,000 Italians tourists that represented a 44.5 percent increase over 2015.

Antigua and Barbuda announced in December that will be receiving 6000 new visitors from Italy in 2019, as a result of an alliance with Vera Tour an Italian entity.

The Government of Italy has a long standing relationship with CARICOM, an organization of fifteen Caribbean islands established in 1973. Its major activities involve coordinating economic policies and development planning.

In the Caribbean and outside of Caricom, Cuba is a destination of growing interest for Italian tourists, and for small companies linked to that sector of the European nation.

Since the beginning of 2018 the Cuban tourism authorities started a promotional campaign in Italy during the 32nd edition of the Italian Tourism Bureau (BIT).

Last November Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero participated in a tourism event in Milan.

Addressing bilateral agreements with Italian companies, Marrero talked in that occasion about recent negotiations with Blue Panorama for the addition of two Boeing 737 aircraft to fly international routes as well as support and improve domestic flights, which he called essential to maintain excursions and multi-center trips.

According to Marrero, Italy has always been among the ten top markets for Cuba’s tourism industry, with the island having welcomed a total of 147,900 Italian tourists in 2018.

Even when this figure is a decrease from the same time last year, Marrero remains hopeful and trusts the newly established negotiations to help attract more Italian visitors in the winter season.

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