According to the TourismMinister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, tourism sector has been driving the economic revival of Jamaica’s economy since its reopening in June 2020, with a steady increase in arrivals and tourism earnings.

Minister Bartlett noted that preliminary estimates show that since the reopening of the tourist sector on June 15, 2020, Jamaica has recorded a total of 816,632 stopover guests and earned earnings of roughly US$1.31 billion (J$196 billion) throughout the one-year period.

He added, “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 stressed that this is just more evidence that the tourism industry is on the mend. Minister Bartlett adds that the Tourism Ministry is reforecasting 1.61 million visits for the current calendar year, up from an earlier estimate of 1.15 million, a 460,000 increase.

“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.

This improvement, according to the Minister, is due in part to the establishment of solid health and safety regulations for the industry, as well as the Tourism COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which have a very low infection rate of 0.6 percent. He also mentioned that as a result of the efforts, Jamaica was able to welcome 342,948 tourists in the first five months of this year (January to May).

He predicted earnings of US$514.9 million, or nearly J$77 billion, for the period January 2021 to the end of May 2021.

“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,” Bartlett explained. 

Cruise passengers are expected to begin returning in July/August, according to the Ministry. The first cruise from North America to the Caribbean departed only recently, raising hopes that others may follow soon.


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