Tourism in Jamaica increases after COVID-19

Jamaican Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, painted a picture of Jamaica’s tourism industry as a booming sector with investment and arrivals as it emerges stronger and more resilient to the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an upbeat sector presentation to Parliament yesterday (April 5), Mr Bartlett said that: “By the end of 2023, the number of visitors to Jamaica is expected to reach 4.1 million, with 1.6 million cruise passengers, 2.5 million stopover arrivals, and $4.2 billion in revenue.

He said the stage was set with a number of initiatives that have been put in place, with some already showing positive results. A Tourism Strategy and Action Plan (TSAP) has been developed to help boost destination and product competitiveness, build resilience, and develop and deploy mechanisms to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector. The TSAP should be finalized during this exercise.

At the same time, the implementation of the Blue Ocean strategic framework introduced last year, will continue to guide the collection of data on changing visitor preferences, while providing appropriate accommodations and experiences, ensuring appropriate governance arrangements and, above all, by training a first-class workforce to share the world. – bring goods and services to visitors.

With new investments and new targeted markets, the stage is now set for a return to the pre-COVID-19 growth model.

Despite challenges in the industry, Bartlett said the investment climate was booming, with Jamaica experiencing its biggest expansion in hotel and resort development in a single year. “A total of $2 billion will be invested to commission 8,500 rooms over the next five to ten years, creating some 24,000 part-time and full-time jobs and at least 12,000 jobs for construction workers. “, he pointed out.

Currently under construction, the 2,000-room Princess Resort in Hannover, nearly 2,000 rooms in the multifaceted Hard Rock Resort development comprised of three other hotel brands; just under 1,000 rooms are built by Sandals and Beaches in St. Ann.

Additionally, hotel infrastructure will be bolstered by the 1,000-room Viva Wyndham Resort north of Negril, RIU Hotel in Trelawny with approximately 700 rooms, Secrets Resort in Richmond St. Ann, with approximately 700 rooms, and Bahia Principe undertaking expansion. massive by its parent company, Grupo Piñero, outside of Spain.

Minister Bartlett said he was pleased that 90% of planned tourism investment remained on track, citing this as “a huge vote of confidence from our investors in Jamaica Brand.”

He postulated that these developments in the tourism industry “will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the economy and will directly benefit thousands of Jamaicans”, adding that “at least 12,000 construction workers, several construction contractors construction, engineers, project managers and a variety of other specialists will be needed to ensure the timely completion of these projects.In addition, thousands of tourism workers need to be trained in areas such as management, services catering, housekeeping, guided tours and reception.

The focus of development also includes the continued modernization of Negril in accordance with a destination management plan to be finalized this fiscal year. Bartlett said the planned investments in 13 projects will ensure Negril keeps pace with or even surpasses similar destinations in the region. Marquee projects include a town center and beach park, a craft market, a farmer’s market and a fishing village.

On the east end of the island, a first sustainable destination plan is underway for St. Thomas, which will allow visitors and Jamaicans to increasingly enjoy the unique ecosystems and cultural heritage of the parish. The St. Thomas tourism destination development and management plan as a new frontier will see approximately $205 million in public investment and more than double that amount in private investment.

From this fiscal year, the Ministry of Tourism will develop Rocky Point Beach, establish wayfinding stations at Yallahs, rehabilitate the road to the Bath Fountain Hotel, as well as leverage strategic partnerships to develop heritage sites such as Fort Rocky and the Morant Bay monument. while other branches of government undertake major improvements to road and water systems.

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