Steady Rebound for Jamaica’s Tourism Sector with New Flights from Switzerland

by Jovani Davis

tourism flights Jamaica
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (centre) in March 2018 presenting a copy of the Usain Bolt Legend book to Germany's AIDA Cruises President Felix Eichhorn at the Jamaica booth of the ITB global tourism tradeshow in Berlin, Germany. He is flanked by (from right) JTB continental Europe head, Gregory Shervington; Michaela Gruun, senior marketing anager, DACH; Dennis Schrahe, vice-president, AIDA Cruises; Senior Advisor/Strategist, Delano Seiveright; and JTB head, Donovan White.

Jamaica will today welcome the first once weekly flight from one of the world’s richest countries, Switzerland.

The flights are operated by Edelweiss Air, a Swiss leisure airline owned by Swiss International Airlines and the Lufthansa Group, based in the country’s largest city, Zurich.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett expressed his delight in this monumental moment. “This flight will be truly monumental for us. We began these discussions in 2018 when we met with stakeholders at the ITB Berlin trade show. So it is truly amazing to see this finally coming to fruition.”

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This week and the week to come are very significant for Jamaica’s tourism with the return of flights from Germany and Canada, a very significant source markets for the country.

With flights from Germany, Canada as well as Switzerland Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett says the island’s tourism industry is steadily rebounding from the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Tourism Minister credits the momentum to a series of strategic meetings his team has been having with key stakeholders across the globe, to increase the rate of recovery projections that were made for the industry to return to normalcy.

He also credits the success in part, to the development of robust health and safety protocols for the sector, including the establishment of the Tourism COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which have seen an infection rate of 0.6 per cent, in addition to high vaccination rates in key source markets.

Yesterday, Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport welcomed Air Canada’s signature Dreamliner aircraft, with 296 passengers, in addition to Condor Airlines’ first flight since the global travel shutdown.

The return of Condor Airline will see the resumption of twice weekly flights from Frankfurt, Germany to Montego Bay. This will connect Jamaica with one of the world’s leading financial hubs and one of the most important airports in Europe.

Condor’s 767 jets will have the capacity for 252 passengers per flight, resulting in 500 visitors per week from Germany, and the rest of Europe..

“When we first made our projections, we anticipated a U-shaped recovery. However, with the increase in arrivals and a number of flights, we are now looking at a V-shaped recovery path,” said Bartlett.

The tourism ministry is reforecasting to deliver 1.61 million visitors this year against an earlier estimate of 1.15 million, an improvement of 460,000 more visitors.

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