During Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence Edmund Bartlett, the Minister of Tourism, announced that a record number of British tourists visited Jamaica during the month of February. The announcement was made on April 25th at White City Studio in London as part of Bartlett’s global marketing tour to boost visitor arrivals.
“This record number of British nationals to Jamaica is a sign that the destination is well on its way to recovery. It also speaks to our assurance of a safe, seamless, and authentic experience in Jamaica. Usually, we welcome around 15,000 British visitors monthly, and this increase is a positive sign that we are doing what we set out to do, which is to recover well,” said Minister Bartlett.
200,000 British visitors are expected to visit Jamaica in 2022. A total of 3.2 million visitors overall are expected, contributing more than $3 billion to Jamaica’s economy. Many of the UK’s own travel operators could explain part of the uptake in British visitors. At another event in London, during a dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, Bartlett thanked the top UK sellers of travel to Jamaica. Agencies in attendance included Sandals, Newmont Travel, Sackville Travel, Flight Connection, TUI, Club Caribbee, and Virgin Atlantic Holidays. Combined, the group is responsible for almost $1 million in nights booked in Jamaica for 2022.
Bartlett’s visit to London is just one leg of his journey during his marketing tour. Next, the tourism team will travel to New York to encourage travel from the US Northeast, including Boston, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They will then go to the Middle East to meet with major airlines and discuss opportunities for Jamaica. Airlines they will be meeting with include S.A.L, Qatar, and Emirates. Lastly, they will visit King Khalid in Riyadh to discuss Jamaica being included in the opening of 225 new gateways.
The marketing tour will also go to Europe, Canada, Africa, and Latin America. Minister Bartlett expects to have contracts signed for an added 8,000 new Jamaican hotel rooms by October’s end of the global marketing tour. This would help to establish Jamaica as a hub for the Middle Eastern market for the Caribbean and the Americas. Royal Jordanian Airlines will be part of this plan, and there will be meetings with representatives from the airline as part of the tourism team’s itinerary.
The statistics coming in point to Jamaica’s recovery and growth. Much of this can likely be attributed to the downturn in Covid-19 cases globally, which has led to the relaxation or outright cancellation of restrictions. Travelers hoping for a Jamaican vacation can look forward to all restrictions being lifted as of April 16th, 2022. Travelers will no longer need a pre-departure covid test before traveling to Jamaica, and there is no longer an indoor mask mandate in effect on the island.
The country doesn’t plan to sit back and wait for the end of the pandemic to bring visitors back to its sandy beaches. The island is introducing new attractions to entice visitors for 2022 as part of its celebration of 60 years of independence. It also plans to bring back festivals and events that have been on hold due to the global pandemic.
Several events and exhibitions have also been planned for the year, with hopes that tourism will increase. Some of the events planned are:
- The Kingston Biennial Exhibition: Pressure – Opening June 26th through December 31st at the National Gallery of Jamaica
- Independence Village – Annual festival running from July 29th through August 7th
- Jamaica Rum Festival – Saturday, June 2nd, in the Montego Bay area
- Carnival – Jamaican Carnival has traditionally been held in April but will begin July 1st this year and continue through July 10th.
British tourists and visitors from the rest of the world are certainly feeling comfortable vacationing again, and where better to do it than Jamaica? The island is aggressively working to increase tourism and will likely see the fruits of its labor this year.
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