Jamaica Tourism Must Get Back On Track

Jamaica’s tourism trade appears to have begun recovering from the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s tourism minister says.

Edmund Bartlett said during the Monday opening of the country’s annual tourism show JAPEX that since the country reopened to visitors on June 15 it has hosted over 211,000 people.

As well, hotel occupancy rates are “slowly inching up…,” he said. “We are cautiously optimistic that we will see a 40% increase in arrivals over the winter when compared to the proceeding period of a massive downturn…

“The coronavirus crisis has brought us to our knees but I can say unreservedly that in time we will arise better than before.”

This year’s JAPEX is being done virtually as a result of coronavirus. Tourism officials say that will enable them to reach a larger audience.

Jamaica has created two tourism corridors as part of a strategy to rebuild its tourism trade that are called Resilient Corridors. Barlett said there are “no known cases” of coronavirus in them. The corridors have “covid-compliant attractions” available for tourists, Bartlett said.

Bartlett said those travelling in a post-coronavirus world will differ from earlier travellers. “They will need to be reassured that their safety and well-being has been taken care of when they travel.”

Bartlett told viewers that Jamaica has implemented health and safety protocols that have won the approval of the WTTC and his country is one of the most “covid-resilient countries in the world.”

Meanwhile, Bartlett noted tourism employs one in 10 people worldwide and creates 170,000 jobs in Jamaica.

“Tourism must get back on track,” he stated.

JAPEX ends today.