Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says with the anticipated boost of US$1.4 billion from tourism earnings for the winter tourist season, the country’s foreign exchange inflows remain on a growth trajectory for the first quarter of 2023.
He explained that the projected earnings were based on the 1.3 million air seats which have been secured for the period and the full recovery of cruise shipping.
Minister Bartlett made the disclosure on Thursday during an appreciation breakfast hosted by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport in St James for various stakeholders in the tourist industry.
“This winter is going to be the best winter Jamaica has had with record arrivals for the season projected at this time to be 950,000 for stopovers and 524,000 for cruise. So, that makes it pretty close to 1.5 million visitors for the season; the largest number of visitors we’ve ever had,” he announced.
“For earnings, we’re looking at US$1.4 billion. In fact, closer to $1.5 billion and that again is a 36 per cent increase from 2019, and significantly higher than the US$1.094 billion earned last year, which will make 2023 the strongest winter earnings that Jamaica has ever had. This augurs well for the country’s foreign exchange stability and growth as the NIR (net international reserves) is going to be in a healthy state,” the tourism minister added.
He went on to declare that “we’re back to normal and I want to really thank all our stakeholders for the enormous work that they have put into enabling this very strong growth-filled recovery. All of this has happened because you have worked so hard, because you have been so committed that you carried the ball for us during the difficult time.”
Compared to last winter, Bartlett said winter 2022/23 should come out with a 29.6 per cent increase in stopover arrivals. Concurrently, with cruises last winter, Jamaica had 146,700 passengers and for this winter a 257 per cent increase is expected.
The minister further disclosed that overall earnings during last year’s winter tourist season stood at US$1 billion, and this year a 33.4 per cent increase is expected to be generated from only stopovers.
He added that with cruise being down last year due to the pandemic, Jamaica earned only US$14 million but now expects to garner US$51.9 million this year.