A number of Indian travel agents and travel writers participated in the just concluded JAPEX (Jamaica Product Exchange) trade show held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 11-13.
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has revealed that Jamaica’s tourism outlook for the fall season, September to mid-December, is looking very positive in terms of visitor arrivals, with “strong airlift from the United States.”
Answering questions at a JAPEX media breakfast meeting held at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa earlier this week Minister Bartlett said “coming out of a historic summer, the US has increased its market share from 63 to 74 percent.”
He noted that the overall picture for this year is that Jamaica has moved ahead of 2019 arrival numbers by 5 percent “with the expectation that we’ll end the year at some 2.9 million visitors, just shy of 200,000 more than 2019, which was our best year. And the earnings would be some 22 percent over 2019,” Mr. Bartlett told journalists.
Meanwhile, he noted that cruise tourism has lagged behind with passenger loads being 24 percent short of the pre-COVID 2019 level. Minister Bartlett says, “in the case of cruise tourism Jamaica expects to be back to 2019 levels by the end of 2024.” The projection is that Jamaica will be about 23 percent below 2019 with the expectation of reaching approximately 1.185 million cruise passengers at the end of this year.
The Minister outlined that the island’s room count is also expected to be increased by 5,000 new rooms. This will include the first 500 of the committed 2,000-room Unico (HardRock) hotel; Princess Grand Jamaica set to open in February with 1000 rooms, Riu adding over 700 rooms and 228 rooms by Marriott in Falmouth. Additionally, ground will be broken for other hotels over the next few months at Richmond in St Ann, Negril, Montego Bay, Paradise, Savanna-la-Mar and also in Trelawny.
Describing the Paradise development as “a major project,” Mr. Bartlett said he was excited “to have a number of local players now becoming involved in the accommodation sub sector because I want to see more of our local players, Jamaicans, become inserted in not just the supply side, which is very important, but also on the demand side with hotel rooms.”
Regarding tapping into new markets, Minister Bartlett identified India as one of the key markets that Jamaica is going after with initial initiatives being received favourably and will be followed up by him with a number of speaking engagements and participation in trade fairs later this year or within the first quarter of 2024.
He said partnerships have already been established in India with a public relations team in place working with Jamaica, which has very strong affinities with that country through sports, for example, “and Chris Gayle has already indicated that he will work with us in helping to bridge some gaps in the Indian market.”
The Minister said Jamaica is also targeting the Indian Diaspora in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and in the Middle East where, according to him, “they’ve already shown interest and are looking at even putting together special charters to come to Jamaica.”
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.