KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica this year has recorded the best visitor arrivals figure and foreign exchange earnings for any summer period in the country’s history, Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has said.
“We have 5,000 more visitors than in (the summer of) 2019, which was a record year; (and) the better news is that our earnings in the summer [of 2022 are] up 20 percent over 2019.”
“So, not only is it that the numbers [of visitors] came, but the earnings from tourism also grew. So… this summer is the best summer that tourism has experienced in the history of Jamaica,” Bartlett said at the welcome ceremony for the 18th annual USA Travel Advisor Golf Tournament at Sandals Ochi Rios Beach Resort in St. Ann.
Bartlett said that at the beginning of 2022, the tourism sector was projected to earn US$3.5 billion and welcome approximately 2.3 million stopover visitors for the year, to be the Caribbean’s fastest-growing tourist destination.
“However, we are now up to 2.6 million projections for stopover visitors, not including cruise [passengers], and the projection for earnings is a whopping US$4.2 billion,” he said, noting that prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we had projected for this to happen five years down the road… in 2025.
“You see what recovery has done and how strong that recovery is”, based on the outturns to date, Bartlett said, adding that Jamaica’s economy has recorded up to five consecutive quarters of growth with the tourism sector leading the growth.
He said, as an example, the 5.7 percent economic growth recorded in the April to June 2022 quarter, of which the tourism and hospitality sector led with 55.4 percent.
Bartlett said this resulted from the hard work of stakeholders who made the destination more “pleasing and desired.”
Over 150 travel advisors from across the United States will be participating in the golf tournament, which is being held for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset.
The two-day event, which began on Monday, will comprise teams playing in a four-member scramble format, putting their skills to the test, and competing in various competitions throughout the tournament.