Jamaica Observer: MONTEGO BAY, St James – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has claimed that local players in the entertainment sector have earned some $0.5 billion for the provision of services to hotels over the first five months this year.

“I am very pleased that in the last five months the industry in coming back has expended a large number of US dollars on various sectors of the economy. And one of the sectors that has benefited from it is the entertainment sector, where nearly $500 million has actually been expended to provide entertainment services into hotels to guests who come in,” Bartlett told reporters in Montego Bay yesterday.

“So, Jamaican musicians, Jamaican artistes, Jamaican singers, Jamaican bands, and so on have all become part of this, and we made a big thing of it because it is important. And, I sought to get a breakdown of all the hotels and all they actually spend on local entertainment during this period. And, I think that as we expand in terms of arrivals and the hotel occupancy grows, then our involvement with the entertainment industry is going to expand,” added Bartlett.

His confidence of further rebound in the tourism sector is buoyed by the more than 30,000 arrivals welcomed so far this month, a trend he predicted will continue throughout the summer.

“We are having significant recovery, and my take on the matter is that we are going to end the year very strong. This month of June, we are already shaping up to be better than May, which was quite strong. We have done more than 30,000 visitors already in June and we are only six days. So, you are averaging in the region of 4,000 and 5,000 visitors a day,” declared Bartlett.

He said that since the start of the year, Jamaica has welcomed more than 400,000 visitors.

“So, I think this summer is really going to be strong. I can see us averaging somewhere in the region of 130,000 to 150,000 per month. So, for the three months of summer – June, July, August – I expect to see between 450,000 and 500,000 visitors,” said Bartlett.