Tourism driving Jamaica’s economic recovery since reopening – Bartlett

Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that since its reopening in June 2020, the tourism sector has been driving the economic recovery of Jamaica’s economy, through a steady increase in arrivals and tourism earnings.  

Minister Bartlett expressed that “preliminary figures indicate that since the reopening of the tourism sector on June 15, 2020, Jamaica has recorded a total of 816,632 stopover visitors and generated earnings of approximately US$1.31 billon (J$196 billion), over the one-year period.” 

“The earnings from the sector included US$1.2 billion in visitor expenditure; US$28 million in departure taxes; US$19.5 million in passenger fees and charges; US$16.3 million in airline passenger levy; US$8.5 million in hotel room taxes and US$8.1 million in airport improvement fees,” he explained.  

He emphasized that this is further proof that the tourism sector is on a steady path to recovery. Minister Bartlett adds that “for the current calendar year, the Tourism Ministry is reforecasting to deliver 1.61 million visitors against an earlier estimate of 1.15 million, an improvement of 460,000 more visitors.”  

“Tourism recovery is on the horizon. Our tourism sector is rising like a phoenix from the ashes. This more positive outlook for 2021 will also improve the destination’s estimate of earnings from US$1.6 billion to US$1.93 billion, an improvement of US$330 million,” said Bartlett.  

The Minister credits this improvement, in part, to the development of robust health and safety protocols for the sector as well as the establishment of the Tourism COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which have seen a very low infection rate of 0.6%.  

He also noted that the measures enabled Jamaica to welcome some 342,948 tourists during the first five months of this year (January to May).  

He indicated that estimated earnings, for the period January 2021 to the end of May 2021 is US$514.9 million or roughly J$77 billion. 

“May 2021 showed a remarkable increase in visitor arrivals and overall stopover arrivals, increasing steadily from mid-month consistently to the end of the month. Load factors recorded for May 2021 averaged 73.5%, this is against the forecasted 50% average load factor for 2021, 9.3% less than the 83.1% load factor achieved in May 2019,” he explained. 

The Ministry remains cautiously optimistic of cruise passengers starting to return around July/August. The first cruise out of North America to the Caribbean took place very recently and that has heightened expectations of more setting sail soon.  

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