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Tourism boom: Jamaica’s Tourism Minister says TEF records robust 13.54% growth in inflows

Edmund Bartlett,

The tourism industry, a vital contributor to this economic growth, continues to flourish with increased foreign national arrivals. For the mentioned quarter, stopover visitor arrivals surged by 5.5% to 682,586 visitors. While cruise passenger arrivals experienced a modest decline of 20.5%, totaling an estimated 178,412 visitors compared to the corresponding quarter in 2022.

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has announced that, from fiscal year to date, approximately $5.6 billion has been collected by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). This represents an impressive growth of 13.54% compared to the same period last year and a remarkable 15.68% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2019. These funds are generated through the US$20 fee for incoming airline passengers and the US$2 fee for cruise passengers, directly contributing to the Consolidated Fund.

Projections for the full fiscal year, spanning April 2023 to March 2024, are equally promising. The TEF estimates a total collection of approximately $9.3 billion, signalling a robust 14.98% increase over the last financial year and a substantial 14.89% rise compared to 2019.

“The TEF is on a record path for this fiscal year and is now projected to bring $9.3 billion to our revenue, which is 1.2 billion more than the last fiscal year. That represents almost 15% more than our best year, 2019,” said Bartlett.

This positive news aligns with the recent economic report from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which revealed an estimated 1.9% growth in the economy during the July–September 2023 quarter compared to the same period last year. Notably, the hotel and restaurants industry experienced a notable real value-added growth of eight percent during the quarter.

“The tourism industry continues to make positive contributions to GDP expansions in the economy. The 10th consecutive quarter of growth was realised, in fact, in the 3rd quarter of this year, when tourism’s contribution to GDP was 7.8%. This positive trend is not only in terms of direct contribution to GDP as reflected in the PIOJ reports but is also in terms of direct revenue that goes into the consolidated fund,” said Bartlett.

As Jamaica positions itself as a global tourism hub, these financial achievements underscore the confidence and support the TEF receives from both visitors and industry stakeholders.

Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, expressed enthusiasm over the positive trajectory. “The continued growth in our collections is a testament to the resilience and appeal of Jamaica as a premier tourist destination. The funds generated will contribute significantly to the ongoing development and enhancement of our tourism sector and Jamaica in general.”

The TEF, established under the TEF Act, derives its revenue primarily from the Tourism Enhancement Fee, which stands at US$20 for incoming airline passengers and US$2 for cruise passengers. In 2017, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) transitioned from a self-financing entity to a budget-funded entity, which resulted in several changes to the financial reporting framework.

The TEF has the responsibility to collect the fees for all chargeable passengers by air or sea and to ensure it is paid directly to the Consolidated Fund. Additionally, TEF also manages the funding to the organization provided through the estimates of expenditures which is monitored by the Ministry of Finance & the Public Service. These funds are then dedicated to supporting and financing various tourism projects aimed at enhancing Jamaica’s tourism sector.

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