Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, disclosed that as of May 10, 2023, the island had welcomed just over 1.5 million total visitors, with provisional gross earnings exceeding US$ 1.6 billion for the same period, as the Jamaican tourism sector continued its robust growth trajectory for 2023.
Minister Bartlett made the announcement after receiving the President’s Award for Caribbean Excellence in Tourism at the 41st Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Barbados. The minister of tourism reported that, based on the present year-to-date numbers, Destination Jamaica has exceeded expectations.
“Between January 1, 2023 and May 10, we received 1,586,303 total visitors, stopover and cruise, earning US$1.69 billion, putting our destination on par with 2019 record figures,” Minister Bartlett remarked addidng that the steady growth of the tourist arrivals and sustained investment in the tourism sector was a tremendous accomplishment.
The tourism minister emphasised the importance of strategic investments and resilience building in sustaining the tourism industry’s robust recovery. In addition, he cited intensified marketing efforts, increased room capacity, and increased airlift connectivity as significant contributors to the increase in visitor arrivals.
In this regard, Minister Bartlett stated, “To keep this growth on an upward trajectory, we continue to secure new air service with the addition of new routes by prestigious carriers such as American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Arajet, and Edelweiss Airlines. Plus, we are expanding and modernizing Sangster International Airport and have approximately 8,000 new hotel rooms slated for construction over the next two to five years.”
Minister Bartlett emphasised that the Blue Ocean Strategy and Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy of the Ministry of Tourism continue to influence the creation of a more sustainable, resilient, and diverse tourism product.
Jamaica is utilising tourism pillars that highlight the destination’s distinct culture and heritage, while also catering to the desire of today’s traveller to experience more than just sun, sea, and sand. Minister Bartlett remarked that they must carefully manage the industry by bolstering its resilience, so that it can continuously adapt to unforeseen issues and safeguard itself from potential future shocks.