Jamaica is poised to generate a projected US$5 billion in earnings from tourism for the 2023 calendar year, based on the current trend in the industry’s out-turns, according to Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett. He says the country is also expected to welcome five million visitors in 2024, one year ahead of the initial target timeline.
The Minister was addressing day two of the Jamaica Customer Service Association’s (JCSA) National Customer Service Week (NCSW) and Service Excellence virtual conference, held from October 2 to 8.
Mr. Bartlett said “We are going to pass US$4 billion earnings. We are now seeing over the last three or four months of reporting, starting in June, where we are exceeding arrivals for 2019. Initially, we had set ourselves the target of having five million visitors and earning US$5 billion over five years. We had set that in 2020 to make it a program for 2025, we are well down the wicket in that regard”.
Mr. Bartlett said the tourism industry is rebounding well from the two-year slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to experience growth. The economy grew by 5.7 per cent during the period, relative to the corresponding period in 2021, with the tourism and hospitality sector contributing substantially.
Data from the PIOJ indicate that the ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ subsector grew by an estimated 55.4 per cent. The data also show that the average length of stay by stopover visitors has returned to 2019 levels of 7.9 nights, and is moving towards 10 days/nights, according to Mr. Bartlett. The Minister further advised that the average spend per tourist has increased from US$168 to US$182 per night.
Consequent on this, Mr. Bartlett pointed out, Jamaica has welcomed 5.1 million and earned US $5.7 billion, since the industry’s reopening in June 2020, following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister maintained that consequent on the local industry’s faster-than-anticipated recovery, “we now know we can be earning close to US$200 per night per visitor”.