As the Caribbean country of Jamaica continues to recover from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and following the open of its border in 2020, the country welcomed its one-millionth visitor in 2022 this week.
This was made known by Jamaica Ministry of Tourism and Jamaica Tourist Board officials.
According to Travel Pulse, the visit provides further illustration of Jamaica’s strong recovery from earlier pandemic travel restrictions. The June 15 arrival of first-time Jamaica visitor Brian Simmons aboard JetBlue flight 1479 from New York was celebrated at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, where an official informed Simmons that as the one-millionth 2022 traveler to Jamaica he will receive an all-expenses-paid return trip.
“This moment is a testament to the confidence that the market shows in Jamaica as well as the strength, resilience and enduring appeal of Jamaica’s tourism product as we build back stronger,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism. Bartlett agreed Jamaica is positioned for a strong 2022-2023 season. On June 4, the country welcomed new service into Sangster International from Austin, Texas, with new Saturday flights.
READ: Tourism: Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett celebrates travel operators, agencies others for selling one million room nights to Jamaica
Bartlett said the new service marks “the strengthening of relations with the southeastern region of U.S. market,” part of “building capacity to drive the arrival numbers and develop a more robust route in the future.” He added, “The projection for summer 2022 is that arrival numbers will be higher than the corresponding period in 2019. Based on bookings we are well ahead of 2019.”
Building Back Better
Bartlett emphasized that Jamaica’s early work to establish a Global Resilience Center based in Montego Bay was crucial to the country’s ability to tackle the pandemic.
“As early as January 2020 we established a risk management task force and by March, when the pandemic was officially declared, Jamaica established a recovery task force,” Bartlett said. “With that, we developed protocols. We brought in Price Waterhouse as consultants. The World Travel and Tourism Council gave its seal of approval, the Safe Travels certificate. We became the third country in the world to receive it.”
Jamaica also worked to maintain its tourism workforce’s safety, financial viability and training for to work under new health protocols. “We were able to fund personal protective equipment for [hospitality and tourism] staff, including many still on furlough. We trained 20,000 workers who were home online. Then we established the first Resilient Corridor, our own bubble that was able to provide a level of safety and security to visitors. All of that allowed us to have a [tourism] recovery that was faster than the rest of the world.
We managed that process and we [hosted] 1.6 million visitors in 2020 and brought back 80 percent of the workers. It is that sense of the long-term view that we have.”
“This occasion clearly demonstrates the success of Jamaica’s recovery efforts,” added Director White, Jamaica’s director of tourism. “We have been seeing a steadily increasing growth in stopover arrivals this year and summer bookings are pacing ahead of 2019 to be the strongest summer we have ever experienced.”
“It’s wonderful to see more than one million guests already in this year of our 60th Anniversary,” Bartlett said, “with the bulk of arrivals having accrued in just the past four months and the expectation that we will welcome our next million stopovers in the next four months.”