Jamaica is expected to welcome five million visitors in 2024, a full 12 months ahead of the initial target. It is also poised to generate a projected US$5 billion in earnings from tourism for the 2023 calendar year, based on the current trend in the industry’s out-turns, according to Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. This comes on the heels of projections that tourism earnings will exceed US$4 billion by the end of 2022.
Bartlett has described the 2022 performance as “a huge achievement… for the industry”.
“We are now seeing [over] the last three or four months of reporting, starting in June, where we are exceeding arrivals for 2019. Initially, we had set ourselves the target of having five million visitors [and] earning US$5 billion over five years. We had set that in 2020 to make it a programme for 2025, [and] we are well down the wicket in that regard,” the minister said.
He was addressing day two of the Jamaica Customer Service Association’s (JCSA) National Customer Service Week (NCSW) and Service Excellence virtual conference held recently.
Bartlett said the tourism industry is rebounding well from the two-year slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to experience growth.
The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) April to June 2022 Quarterly Report indicates that tourism continues to drive the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The economy grew by 5.7 per cent during the period, relative to the corresponding period in 2021, with the tourism and hospitality sector contributing substantially.
Data from the PIOJ indicate that the ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ subsector grew by an estimated 55.4 per cent.
The data also show that the average length of stay by stopover visitors has returned to 2019 levels of 7.9 nights, and is moving towards 10 days/nights, according to Bartlett.
The minister further advised that the average spend per tourist has increased from US$168 to US$182 per night.
He also pointed out that Jamaica has welcomed 5.1 million visitors and earned US $5.7 billion, since the industry’s reopening in June 2020, following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the local industry’s faster than anticipated recovery, “we now know we can be earning close to US$200 per night per visitor”, the minister maintained.