Jamaica’s tourism partners team up to boost capacity

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett is leading a collaborative effort between public and private sector stakeholders to build capacity and systematically address the pain points in the tourism industry.

Minister Bartlett made the disclosure following a meeting with industry partners, which he led in conjunction with the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Robin Russell, yesterday (Jan. 11) at the AC Marriott Hotel.

Minister Bartlett outlined that the four focus areas assigned to the working groups will be public order in tourism spaces, visitor facilitation, tourism housing and human resources.

“In 2023 we welcomed a total of 4.15 million visitors, which is a substantial 24% increase over the previous year. This reflects the remarkable appeal of Destination Jamaica,” Minister Bartlett said. “This includes 2,886,064 stopover visitors, which marks a 16.4 per cent rise over the figure recorded in 2022. Additionally, there were 1,265,586 cruise arrivals recorded for the year, representing a whopping 48.3 per cent increase over the number of cruise passengers that visited the island in 2022.” The Minister added that: “This surge in visitors generated foreign exchange earnings of US$4.27 billion, which represents an 18 per cent increase over the revenue secured in 2022.”

Three million arrivals for 2024

He stressed that with Jamaica anticipating some three  million stopover visitors in 2024, boosting capacity is key moving forward.

On the issue of human capital development and the shortage of workers, Minister Bartlett highlighted the ongoing work of the task force which was formed to examine labour market arrangements in tourism.

“The goal is to enhance the industry’s workforce, fostering a stronger and better sense of appreciation for the invaluable contributions of our workers,” he said.

Emphasizing the importance of improving the airport experience to facilitate a seamless arrival for visitors, Minister Bartlett said during the meeting stakeholders examined ways to enhance overall visitor satisfaction and maintain the positive image of Destination Jamaica.