Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has indicated that 2022 will be a historic year for the tourism sector, with record arrivals and groundbreaking agreements.
In his 2022/23 Sectoral Debate Closing Presentation in Parliament yesterday (June 14), Mr. Bartlett pointed out that having eclipsed the one million-visitor mark in May, the Ministry’s projections for 3.2 million visitors in 2022 are on track, and Summer 2022 will be the best summer in the history of tourism in Jamaica.
The Minister said, “At the end of May, we surpassed the one million-visitor mark for this year, and we are well on our way to achieving our 2022 projections of total visitor arrivals of 3.2 million and total revenue of US$3.3 billion.”
The Tourism Minister outlined that this figure is just “US$400 million shy” of the pre-pandemic 2019 figure, adding that it is an indication that “by early 2023 we would have been back to 2019 records” and moving beyond that by the end of the year.
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He stressed that “well before 2024, we will have 4.5 million visitors” and earn US$4.7 billion for Jamaica in gross foreign exchange revenues.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that:
Jamaica is “seeing excellent signs of recovery.”
He reiterated that the tourism industry is driving the country’s post-COVID-19 economic resurgence. He noted also that “Jamaica is leading the Caribbean” as it relates to flight bookings, adding that “arrival figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) signal that the sector is proving its resilience and a return to pre-pandemic performance is on the horizon.”
He further noted that for February to May of 2022, “we are seeing record arrivals out of London,” adding that in February alone, “Jamaica saw its highest number in UK arrivals in the country’s history with a record of 18,000 visitors coming to Jamaica.”
Mr. Bartlett highlighted that “preliminary data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica revealed that stopover arrivals (January to March 2022) increased by 230.1 percent to 475,805 visitors, and cruise passenger arrivals totaled 99,798 when compared to the same period last year.”
Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett underscored that “Emirates Airlines, the largest airline in the Gulf Coast Countries (GCC), is selling seats to Jamaica” adding that “this arrangement, a historic first for Jamaica and the Caribbean, opens gateways from the Middle East, Asia and Africa to our island and the rest of the region.”