Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has expressed optimism in the growth prospects for the sector stressing that “this is the biggest and best winter season Jamaica has ever had in the history of tourism” adding that the tourism industry was set on a path to continue the boom now being experienced.
He commented that Jamaica is projected to receive 1.18 million tourists between January and March of 2023, representing a 94.4% increase over the same period in 2022. This represents a profit of $1.15 billion, which is 46.4% higher than the $786.8 million earned during the same period in 2022.
Minister Bartlett reviewed the performance of the tourism industry as he opened the Sectoral Debate in Parliament yesterday, noting that arrivals for 2022 were up 117 percent and revenues were up 71 percent compared to 2021. In 2022, Jamaica welcomed 3,3 million visitors and earned an estimated US$3.7 billion, with US$4.1 billion projected for 2024.
“If there was ever an industry that has the potential to transform our nation, our communities and the lives and livelihoods of the Jamaican people for the better, it is tourism,” he told Parliament, adding that the real gross domestic product (GDP) for the economy is projected to “grow within the range of 3.0% to 5.0% during January – March 2023 when compared to January – March 2022.” This expansion is anticipated to be led by the hotel and restaurant sector as well as the mining and quarrying industries.
Minister Bartlett emphasised that in fiscal year 2023/24, the GDP is expected to be driven by continued robust performance in stopover arrivals, which will be facilitated by an increase in room capacity and intensified marketing efforts.
“Never before in the history of Jamaica has tourism made such a great contribution to the national economy and we are willing to contribute to that process and to make even greater contributions,” said Mr. Bartlett, adding that Jamaicans from all walks of life can enjoy a larger portion of the tourism pie.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that investments continue to boom to drive the industry’s recovery and that tourism investment contributed 20% of the island’s total foreign direct investments (FDI) over the past five years, and over the next five to ten years, there are multiple upcoming investment projects that will add 15,000 to 20,000 new rooms at a cost of $4 billion to $5 billion.
The Minister stated that stakeholders have collaborated to create a tourism industry that is equitable, sustainable, and provides opportunities for all. He noted that “tourism will be the biggest driver of economic growth and prosperity in Jamaica for years to come and it is absolutely important that you are made aware of the work that we have been doing over the last year in repositioning the sector to achieve higher growth rates, a better spread of the benefits of tourism to each and every Jamaican and stronger linkages throughout the economic fabric of this beautiful island.”
Jamaica was designated the Caribbean’s Leading Destination 2022 by the prestigious World Travel Awards for the sixteenth consecutive year. Jamaica also won the titles of Caribbean’s Leading Nature Destination 2022, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination 2022, and Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board 2022 for the fourteenth consecutive year.
Go Jamaica Travel, Half Moon, S Hotel, and Spanish Court hotels, Jamaica Inn, Goldeneye, Rockhouse, Island Car Rentals, Island Routes, VIP Attractions’ Club MoBay, Sangster International Airport, the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Sandals Whitehouse, Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals South Coast, Beaches Negril, and Hyatt Ziva were among the other winners of the evening.