Tourism

Jamaica welcomes more than a million visitors as local tourism continues to rebound – Bartlett

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica welcomed over a million visitors to the island as of the end of May, which tourism minister Edmund Bartlett said shows the industry continues to recover rapidly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The arrival data from the Jamaica Tourism Board (JTB) suggests that the sector is proving resilient and a return to pre-pandemic levels is on the horizon. At the end of May, we passed the one million visitor mark for this year, and we are on track to meet our 2022 forecasts of total visitors of 3.2 million and total revenue of $3.3 billion.” shared Bartlett.

He spoke last Wednesday closing the 2022/23 industry debate in the House of Representatives.

He explained that late-May arrivals included both cruise passengers and stopovers, but noted that stopovers should have hit the one million mark last Thursday when the millionth passenger arrived at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. .

Looking to the future, an optimistic Bartlett said: “If we are going to maintain this positive momentum, if we are going to deliver on our 2024 projections of 4.5 million visitor arrivals and $4.7 billion in gross foreign exchange revenue, then we must lay the foundation for a strong comeback.”

“We are already seeing excellent signs of recovery as the tourism industry continues to contribute to Jamaica’s post-COVID-19 recovery,” the minister added.

Bartlett pointed to the latest January-March economic data report from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which shows that “the real value added of hotels and restaurants increased by about 105.7%.”

“PIOJ also noted that the industry continues to benefit from increased travel in light of the easing of previous COVID-19 containment measures,” Bartlett said.

And he pointed to preliminary data that showed passenger arrivals increased 230.1% to 475,805 visitors, while cruise passenger arrivals stood at 99,798 compared to the same period last year. According to PIOJ data for January-February 2022, total visitor spending increased to $485.6 million compared to $169.2 million for the corresponding period in 2021.

“Laying the foundation needed to ensure that such a sustainable recovery continues is the idea behind the recent very successful leg of our global markets blitz when I led a high-level tourism team in the United Kingdom, the United States and then Dubai to explore the opportunity for investment and air travel, and to support tourism in Jamaica,” Bartlett said.

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