Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is raising concerns that growth in tourism arrivals is declining.

Speaking this afternoon with Nationwide News, Dr. McNeill says the decline is most likely linked to the declaration of the State of Public Emergency in St. James. He’s calling on Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett to make a full report on the state of the industry.

Dr. McNeill says based on information he’s received growth figures have declined by almost 50-percent as a result of the State of Emergency in St. James.

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He says while the opposition fully supports the State of Emergency something must be done to cauterize the fallout. Dr. McNeill argues that further declines could happen.

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Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has said there’s been no decline in tourism growth resulting from the State of Emergency in St. James.

However Dr. McNeill says the Minister’s statement was misinformed. He says the Minister must come forward with fulsome information on the industry and any mitigation plans to tackle the issue.

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Advisor to Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, Delano Seiveright, told Nationwide News this afternoon that Dr. McNeill’s information is inaccurate. He said a statement from the Minister would be sent in response. However, up to news time no statement had been received.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism says growth in the industry remains strong.

Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says stopover arrivals for the first quarter of 2018, has surpassed the total for the corresponding period last year at 6.6 percent.

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Edmund Bartlett says the continued growth in arrivals also indicates that Jamaica is well on its way of surpassing 5 million annual visitor arrivals target before 2021.

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