Tourism Sector Driving Jamaica To Its Post-Pandemic Recovery

Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism stated that the island’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery is being driven by the tourism industry. This he says is based on the findings presented in the most recent report by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

Bartlett made the remarks in response to the PIOJ study earlier this week, which showed a boost in the nation’s economic growth in the second quarter of the year. The study concluded that the tourism and hospitality industries contributed to the country’s development by 5.7% from April to June 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021.

The PIOJ reported that the real value added for Hotels and Restaurants increased by an estimated 55.4%, which reflects a sharp rise in visitor arrivals from all major source markets. Additionally, the total number of Foreign National arrivals from April to May 2022 was 399,310, an increase of 110% compared to the same period last year.

Based on this, the PIOJ statistics confirm that tourism is driving Jamaica’s post-pandemic economic recovery and, in Bartlett’s words, “a clear indication of the resilience of the sector, which is rebounding steadily.”

In welcoming the news, Bartlett met with members of the Tourism Recovery Task Force, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and other industry stakeholders on Friday for a mid-year review of the industry.

Findings presented by the Jamaica Tourist Board reveal that the average duration of stay has returned to the 2019 levels of 7.9 nights. More significantly, average visitor spending has climbed from US$168 per night to US$182 per person per night.

This means that the tourism industry is producing more foreign currency per visitor, thus resulting in other participants in the sector such as attractions, the transportation sub-sector and the craftsmen benefiting. According to Bartlett, this is “creating greater economic impact”.

Furthermore, it was emphasized that as of July 2022, more than 3.5 million (3,556,394) tourists had visited Jamaica since it reopened in June 2020. Likewise, the island has welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors this year (1,714,956), up by 139.4% when compared to the corresponding period.

Additionally, the number of visitor arrivals was projected to rise by 10% between July 2022 and the same month in 2019.

Bartlett subsequently added that due to the increase in arrivals each month, “we remain optimistic that our performance figures will return to 2019 pre-COVID record levels by 2023.”

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