There will be more than 50 non-stop flights per week between Canada and Jamaica as of November 1 in what is being heralded as a major boost for the Caribbean island’s tourist industry. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said the increased airlift has been confirmed with senior executives of Canada’s largest airlines.
The flights will be operated by Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Swoop and Air Transat, with non-stop services from the Canadian cities of Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Halifax, Edmonton, St John, Ottawa, and Moncton.
The minister was providing an update from Canada, where he has been having a series of engagements with travel industry leaders in Toronto.
Canada, Jamaica’s second-largest market for tourists, has been steadily rebounding after more than a year and a half in the doldrums due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and stringent Government-imposed travel restrictions. Bartlett noted that the Canadian market currently has forward bookings hovering around 65 per cent of the 2019 levels, and airlift for the winter season at around 82 per cent of 2019 levels, with around 260,000 seats locked in.
“This is positive news, as Canada has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions which, for several months, literally shut down international travel,” the minister said.
“Now with more than 80 per cent of eligible Canadians over the age of 12 fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and a relative easing of international travel restrictions, we are cautiously optimistic. They are also excited about Jamaica’s resilient corridors where most tourists’ vacation is safe, with relatively high vaccination rates and near zero infection rates,” Bartlett noted.
He also pointed out that, as is the case for everyone over the age of 12 travelling to Jamaica, Canadians must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of departure.
Noting the critical importance of tourism to Jamaica’s economic recovery, Bartlett highlighted the fact that the industry plays a pivotal role in Jamaica’s post-pandemic recovery, and for good reason.
“There is no better industry to drive the inclusive, shrewd and sustainable economic growth needed to move the country forward. There is no better industry to increase revenue, restore jobs and generate new opportunities in communities across Jamaica,” he said.