Shining Brightly

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett is in an optimistic mood these days as the growth prospects for the popular Caribbean island’s tourism sector continue to shine brightly.

In fact, Bartlett observed that “this is the biggest and best winter season Jamaica has ever had in the history of tourism” adding that the tourism industry was set on a path to continue the boom now being experienced.

Minister Bartlett noted that: “For the January to March 2023 period, it is estimated that Jamaica welcomed 1.18 million visitors, which represents growth of 94.4% when compared to the same period in 2022. This represents earnings of US$1.15 billion, 46.4% above the US$786.8 million earned for the same period in 2022.”

The Minister also pointed out that arrivals for 2022 were up by 117% and earnings by 71.4% when compared to 2021. Jamaica welcomed 3.3 million visitors and earned an estimated US$3.7 billion in 2022 and projections for 2024 are for US$4.1 billion in earnings.

Bartlett said that: “If there was ever an industry that has the potential to transform our nation, our communities and the lives and livelihoods of the Jamaican people for the better, it is tourism” adding that real gross domestic product (GDP) for the economy is projected to “grow within the range of 3.0% to 5.0% during January – March 2023 when compared to January – March 2022.” This growth is expected to be led by strong performances by the hotels and restaurants, and the mining and quarrying industries.

And he highlighted that in fiscal year 2023/24 GDP is anticipated to be driven by continued robust performance in stopover arrivals, facilitated by increased room capacity and intensified marketing efforts.

Said Bartlett: “Never before in the history of Jamaica has tourism made such a great contribution to the national economy and we are willing to contribute to that process and to make even greater contributions,” and noted that “Jamaicans at all levels of society can enjoy a bigger slice of the tourism pie.”

He also pointed out that “investments continue to boom to drive the industry’s recovery (and) over the last five years tourism investment contributed 20% of the island’s total foreign direct investments (FDI) and over the next 5 to 10 years, there are multiple upcoming investment projects which will see the addition of 15,000 to 20,000 new rooms with investment of US$4 billion to US$5 billion.”

The Minister said stakeholders had been working together to build a tourism industry that was equitable, viable and which generates opportunities for all. He noted that “tourism will be the biggest driver of economic growth and prosperity in Jamaica for years to come and it is absolutely important that you are made aware of the work that we have been doing over the last year in repositioning the sector to achieve higher growth rates, a better spread of the benefits of tourism to each and every Jamaican and stronger linkages throughout the economic fabric of this beautiful island.”