In 2022, the Caribbean has been one of the fastest growing regions in terms of tourism recovery and many destinations within the region are already close to or at par with the tourism arrivals witnessed in the pre-pandemic period.
One of the fastest growths has been seen in Jamaica which has set its sights even higher as the country is poised to generate a projected USD5 billion in earnings from tourism for the 2023 calendar year, based on the current trend in the industry’s out-turns, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
Bartlett says the country is also expected to welcome five million visitors in 2024, one year ahead of the initial target timeline. The Minister was addressing day two of the Jamaica Customer Service Association’s (JCSA) National Customer Service Week (NCSW) and Service Excellence virtual conference.
Mr. Bartlett said the 2023 revenue inflow projection was based on the fact that come the end of 2022, the country was going to cross USD4 billion in tourism earnings. He went on to describe it as a huge achievement for the country’s tourism 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 USD5 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,” Bartlett said.
He added that the tourism industry was rebounding well from the two-year slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued 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 pc 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 pc. Bartlett says that the data also show that the average length of stay by stopover visitors returned to 2019 levels of 7.9 nights, and was moving towards 10 days/nights. He added that the average spend per tourist has increased from USD168 to USD182 per night.
As a result, Jamaica has welcomed 5.1 million and earned USD 5.7 billion, since the industry’s reopening in June 2020, following its closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he added. He maintained that based on the local industry’s faster than anticipated recovery, he was certain that the industry could be earning close to USD 200 per night per visitor.