Tourism boom as Jamaica welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors

Tourism boom as Jamaica welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors

With the Jamaican tourism sector continuing on its robust growth trajectory for 2023, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, has revealed that as of May 10, the island has welcomed just over 1.5 million total visitors, with provisional gross earnings exceeding US$1.6 billion for the period.

Bartlett made the announcement on the heels of the 41st Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Barbados, where he received the President’s Award for Caribbean Excellence in Tourism.

According to Bartlett, the current year-to-date figures show that Jamaica hit this target ahead of projections.

“Between January 1, 2023 and May 10, 2023 we received 1,586,303 total visitors, stopover and cruise, earning US$1.69 billion, putting our destination on par with 2019 record figures.

"We have seen steady growth in our arrivals and continued investment in the tourism sector, which is a tremendous achievement,” said Bartlett.

The tourism minister stressed that strategic investments and resilience building were key areas of focus in sustaining the strong recovery of the tourism sector.

He further cited intensified marketing efforts, increased room capacity and expanded airlift connectivity as critical drivers behind the boom in tourist arrivals.

“To keep this growth on an upward trajectory, we continue to secure new air service with the addition of new routes by prestigious carriers such as American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Arajet, and Edelweiss Airlines. Plus, we are expanding and modernising Sangster International Airport and have approximately 8,000 new hotel rooms slated for construction over the next two to five years,” added Bartlett.

He highlighted that the tourism ministry's Blue Ocean Strategy as well as its Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy continue to influence the development of a more sustainable, resilient and diverse tourism product.

“Jamaica is leveraging key pillars for tourism that showcase the destination’s unique culture and heritage while simultaneously addressing the desire of today’s traveller to experience more than just sun, sea and sand.

"We need to carefully manage the industry through resilience building, so it can continually adapt to issues that may arise and put plans in place to protect it from potential future shocks,” said Bartlett.