Jamaica’s tourism sector sets post-COVID-19 record

As the tourism sector continues to rebound, Jamaica again broke visitor arrival records, with some 27,000 tourists arriving on the island last weekend, March 3-6.

“The tourism industry is now poised for a full recovery,” Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett said in response to the four-day figures. He cited the weekend as being “particularly strong as Jamaica rebounds from the devastation inflicted on the tourism sector by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.”

He added that the achievement of this record as the sector looks to rebound from COVID-19 was of particular significance, as it coincided with the anniversary of Jamaica’s recording of its first case of the virus on March 10, 2020.

Over the weekend there were some 8,700 visitors on Saturday.

It is the highest number for any given day since Jamaica’s international borders reopened and Minister Bartlett considered it “essential as it shows that March, which is traditionally a good month for holidaymakers season, got off to a good start with bookings indicating a very strong March, alongside the corresponding month in 2019, which saw the best pre-COVID arrivals for the sector.

Minister Bartlett said the growing number bodes well not only in terms of high hotel accommodation, but “it’s very important for our tourism workers to get back to work, for our suppliers who have also been hit hard impacted by the fallout but can now be certain of the demand to be met. Further, Mr. Bartlett said: “It also signals to our investment and funding partners that we can now feel some confidence to provide more resources to meet the consumption needs of visitors.”

Minister Bartlett addressed a particular word of encouragement to those involved in the agricultural sector, which has forged links with the hotel and tourism industry in an effort to satisfy the gastronomic needs of visitors to the island. ‘We are now excited about the prospect of our farming sector getting involved and it was only recently that I was in St Elizabeth to provide support to farmers to boost productivity,’ he said.

Mr. Bartlett pointed out that “the growth of tourism has had significant implications for other sectors, such as entertainment, culture as well as service providers, all of which will be critical to Jamaica’s Blue Ocean Tourism strategy, in which we will capitalize on the competitive advantage we have in these areas to grow and support the industry.

He noted that now is the time for all local producers to be on board as “we maintain our focus on recovery, and we want to recover with you so that the tourism supply chain can be imbued with a strong local content that will maintain the tourism dollar in Jamaica and ensure that the real benefits of tourism ultimately benefit the people of Jamaica.

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