Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is projecting that Jamaica will recover sufficiently from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to welcome 4.2 million visitors and generate some US$4 billion in earnings by 2024.
He said that the projections are based on the growth trends since the island’s borders were reopened to international travel in June 2020, after being closed due to the pandemic.
He noted that arrivals have increased at an average of 20 percent each month since the reopening, with Jamaica welcoming over 837,000 stopover visitors over the ensuing 12-month period.
Bartlett, who was addressing a meeting with representatives of the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) on Thursday, indicated that 189,001 stopover visitors are projected for July 2021, with 1.7 million tourists expected between January and December.
With the anticipated resumption of cruise arrivals in August, Mr. Bartlett said an estimated US$2 billion in earnings is expected to be generated over the 12 months.
The Minister noted further that Jamaica is projected to welcome 3.2 million tourists and earn US$2.7 billion in 2022 and will be “well on our way to recovery” in 2023 with an anticipated 3.7 million visitor arrivals and inflows of US$3.7 billion.
Based on this, Bartlett said Jamaica would be “back on track” for 4.2 million visitors and US$4 billion in earnings in 2024.
The Minister noted that while the pandemic has thrown visitor arrivals and growth targets off track “it has forced us to rethink our strategies and chart a new course towards effective recovery and sustainable development”.
He indicated that the strategic framework for reimagining Jamaica’s tourism is being guided by the Ministry’s Blue Ocean Strategy, which calls for the creation of business models that depart from traditional formats based on head-to-head competition and market share gain.
This will see the Ministry pursuing enhanced value-creation through product differentiation and diversification.
Bartlett pointed out that this will entail training and building the capacity of industry personnel; renewed focus on destination assurance; leveraging local culture and heritage to tell the authentic Jamaican story; making music a more predominant and inclusive part of the visitor experience; and creating programs to get visitors out of the hotels to experience Jamaica’s authenticity.
“The Blue Ocean Strategy… will allow us to meet our growth targets of five billion dollars in earnings and five thousand new rooms by 2025,’ Mr. Bartlett stated.
The meeting with the key CARAIA stakeholders was aimed at discussing the creation of an enabling environment to foster investments, leading to the growth of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises.