As the tourism sector continues to rebound, Jamaica is again breaking visitor arrival records, with some 27,000 tourists arriving on the island last weekend, March 3 to 6.
“The tourism industry is now poised for full recovery,” declared Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett in response to the four-day figures. He cited the weekend as being “particularly strong in the context of Jamaica bouncing back from the devastation dealt to the tourism sector by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.”
He added that achieving this record as the sector seeks to rebound from COVID-19 was of particular significance, as it coincided with the anniversary of Jamaica recording its first case of the virus on March 10, 2020.
Over the weekend, there were some 8,700 visitors on Saturday.
This is the highest number for any given day since the reopening of Jamaica’s international borders and Minister Bartlett saw this as “critical as it makes the point that the month of March, which traditionally is a good one for winter vacationers, has started out well with bookings indicating a very strong March, paralleling the corresponding month in 2019, which saw the best pre-COVID arrivals for the sector.”
Minister Bartlett said the growing numbers augured well not just in terms of high accommodation in hotels but “this is very important to have our tourism workers back on the job, for our suppliers who were also hard-hit by the fallout but can now have some certainty in terms of the demand to be met.” Furthermore, said Mr. Bartlett: “It also signals to our investment and financing partners that we can now feel a little sense of confidence to supply more resources to satisfy the visitors’ consumption needs.”
Minister Bartlett had a special word of encouragement for players in the agricultural sector, which has forged linkages with the hospitality and tourism industry in the drive to satisfy the gastronomic needs of visitors to the island. “We are excited now by the prospect of our agricultural sector being on board and only recently I was in St Elizabeth providing some support to farmers to help boost productivity,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett outlined that “the growth of tourism had far-reaching implications for other sectors, such as entertainment, culture as well as service providers, all of whom will be pivotal to Jamaica’s Blue Ocean Tourism Strategy, in which we will be capitalizing on the competitive edge we have in these areas to grow and sustain the industry.”
He noted that now is the opportune 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 supply chain of tourism can be infused with strong local content that will keep the tourist dollar in Jamaica and ensure the real profits from tourism ultimately benefit the Jamaican people.”