WTM 2012: Jamaica banks on Bolt and Bond to boost holiday bookings

anniversary of James Bond films are helping to drive holiday enquiries for Jamaica as it targets a further 30,000 UK visitors in 2013.

Immediately after this year’s London 2012 Olympic Games, air fare comparison site Skyscanner reported a 58% surge in holiday searches for the destination following sprinter Usain Bolt’s three gold medal performances.

Jamaica Tourist Board regional director Elizabeth Fox said the “Bolt effect” was already translating into bookings for this winter and next year, boosted by more airlift to the country.

“Operators said it was quiet before and during the Olympics and then bookings started to flood in,” said Fox.

“We are expecting increased visitor numbers next year – I would definitely like to see another 30,000 UK visitors. Jamaica was on the map this year because of the Olympics and it’s also the 50th year of Jamaica’s independence and 50th anniversary of James Bond, written in Jamaica.

“We have got something to brag about and we’re using it.”

Last year UK visitor numbers dropped 5% to 180,000. Arrivals also declined year on year in the first quarter of 2012, a drop attributed to economic conditions and the UK’s Air Passenger Duty.

The tourist board has filmed three advertisements featuring Bolt and hopes to run these on UK television in the new year if funding is made available.

The Jamaica Tourist Board also plans to set up a Jamaica House – like the facility it created for this year’s Olympics – during events such as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2013 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

The tourist board is capitalising on interest in Jamaica driven by the new Bond film Skyfall – released 50 years after the first Bond movie Dr No – by giving away 50 tickets to the film to the first 25 agents to arrive at the Jamaica tourist board agents’ reception which will be held on Wednesday from 4pm a