KINGSTON, Jamaica – On Wednesday Jamaica welcomed the first millionth stopover visitor for the year, bringing earnings of US$1.5 billion.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, said that the strong arrival figure is a sign that the industry is on the “cusp of restoring its 2019 levels of arrivals and earnings”, following the disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bartlett, speaking at the Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference, credited the achievement to contributions made by locals, who helped to “kick-start the industry after the pandemic lockdowns.
“Although we had lost 130,000 workers because we had to close the industry and the country lost, in the process, US$46.3 billion, by June 2020 we were ready to bounce back and open our borders,” he said, noting that the diaspora continues to play an important role in the full recovery of the country.
“You [the diaspora] can help us make this full recovery happen. I am imploring you to use the occasion of our diamond jubilee to make 2022 the best year in which more Jamaicans, than ever before, return home to celebrate the very special occasion that the 60th anniversary presents.
“Our focus is now on our local people and our diaspora to invest more in tourism. The supply chain disruptions invite new opportunities for investment by our diaspora in the services and supplies that the industry needs,” he added.