SOURCE: CMC- Less than a week into the winter tourist season, Jamaica is reporting visitor arrivals it says compare favourably with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) era.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal…especially during a pandemic,” he said. “Since Friday, December 17, we have had over 159 flights into Montego Bay alone, putting stopover arrivals into the tourism capital at about 25,000 in three days. Saturday’s 9,153 arrivals from 62 flights is the biggest single-day record we have had since the airports were reopened on June 15, last year,” said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
A statement released by the Ministry of tourism noted that over the past three days, an estimated 25,000 passengers passed through the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, figures not realised since 2019.
Bartlett said that the number of visitors arriving here on Sunday were equally impressive with “some 52 flights on record.
“These numbers would be the type of figures we would see in the strongest weekends…even in pre-COVID times. We have not even factored in the cruise numbers, which have also been growing by leaps and bounds,” he added.
Bartlett said that barring any fallout from the Omicron variant of the virus, there is every reason to believe that Jamaica will record increase visitor arrivals.
Bartlett said that in meeting with international partners in some of Jamaica’s main source markets, interest in the island remains very high, adding “we continue to be a first-rate and a first-choice destination with a lot of attributes to entice.
“Whether it’s the United States, Canada or Great Britain, there’s a lot of interest in Jamaica and its people. Our partners have also been impressed by how we have managed our health and safety protocols. We have also managed to make a lot of inroads in other areas…some as fertile as the Middle East, the Eastern bloc in Europe and even parts of Asia. We have spent our time wisely and now we are seeing the results,” Bartlett said.
Meanwhile, Chief Strategist/Senior Adviser in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, said that Jamaica’s cruise numbers will see an exponential increase in early 2022 when the western Caribbean route is fully opened.
“We share the same itinerary route with Grand Cayman, which is still closed. Cruise shipping should be resuming in Cayman in early February and that’s when we should be seeing the huge Royal Caribbean Oasis-styled vessels coming our way,” he added.