Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, said he expects the island to make a full recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by 2023. Favourites like Dunn’s River Fall, Ocho Rios, Negril and Montego Bay will be thriving again, he feels.
This is a year earlier than many analysts had anticipated at the outset of the crisis last spring.
Speaking at a meeting of the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association, he said: “It is going to be a slow and arduous process, but we are already seeing very positive signs and I am confident that by 2023 we will once again be seeing significant gains.”
He explained Jamaica had anticipated 2.9 million stopover visitors for April 2020 to March this year, while these guests were expected to spend around J$200 billion (KY$1bn).
In fact, with under 500,000 visitors actually arriving, expenditure was only $44 billion (KY$220 million).
Looking ahead, Bartlett was, however, confident growth would return. He said: “By 2023, we will be well on our way to recovery with projections of 3.7 million visitors and earning US$3.5 billion in revenue; and by 2024 we will be back on track for 4.2 million visitors and US$4 billion in tourism revenue. Here lies the opportunity in this crisis.
“Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic on global tourism economies, as we put plans in place to rebuild, we now can re-imagine the industry and create a tourism product that is safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.”