Open Jaw On Location: Jamaica Leading World in Travel Recovery 

Open Jaw's Ian Smyth and other media members at Jamaica's on-location "Destination Update."
Open Jaw’s Ian Smyth and other media members at Jamaica’s on-location “Destination Update.”

While JAPEX was cancelled this year, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) provided North American media with an on-location ‘Destination Update’ this month at Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios.

The country’s Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, as well as Donovan White, Director of Tourism, and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association president Clifton Reader, who is also Moon Palace’s Managing Director, joined members of the media, including Open Jaw, for the event.

White told Canadian travel media “tourism is open and we are out of the tunnel.”

Hotels on the island are reporting 65 per cent occupancy this winter, and 80 per cent of hotel workers are back on the job.

In fact, for Jamaica, the outlook is even rosier than for most countries. In a number of key indicators, the Caribbean nation is out ahead of the pack when it comes to travel recovery.

White shared Amadeus stats showing Jamaica actually outpaces world averages for:

  • Destination searches, with Jamaica at 38 per cent of 2019 levels, well above the rest of the world at 24 per cent;
  • GDS bookings, which are over double the world average, with Jamaica at 61 per cent of 2019 levels;
  • Air arrivals already at 45 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, far ahead of the world average of just over 30 per cent; and
  • Air capacity at 65 per cent of 2019 rates, with the world average only 44 per cent.

White said the country expects to return to pre-pandemic visitation numbers – 4.2 million – by late 2023.

Reader credits Jamaica’s ‘Resilient Corridor,’ calling it “the single most important” factor in the island’s recovery.

Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association president Clifton Reader speaking at the "Destination Update."
Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association president Clifton Reader speaking at the “Destination Update.”

The designated region that encompasses Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril, as well as the southwest coast, was the focus of the country’s efforts to implement robust safety protocols and worker vaccination programs.

Air lift and tour operators are returning in earnest, with cruise calls also contributing to the recovery. White noted that Carnival Cruise Line alone has committed to 110 visits by APR 2022. 90 per cent of pre-pandemic hospitality investments are still going ahead, including some by local resort giant Sandals. Current investments will add another 5000 rooms to Jamaica’s tourism offering.

Virtual Product Showcase For Advisors

JTB is again this year presenting a live, Virtual Product Showcase on Wednesday, 24NOV at 1- 3 pm ET.

The festivities begin with an island-themed social evening on Thursday, 18NOV, followed by the interactive product showcase on 24NOV, where advisors can hear the latest destination updates from Jamaica, connect with suppliers, and enjoy authentic, virtual island experiences.

Advisors can click here for more information and to register to attend.

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