Destination Jamaica has welcomed its one millionth stopover visitor for 2022 as the tourism industry in that country continues to show signs of a strong recovery. mThe milestone was celebrated last Wednesday with the arrival of Brian Simmons, who landed at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ) on a JetBlue flight from New York’s JFK airport.
“I could not be more pleased or prouder to greet Mr Simmons, our one millionth stopover visitor arriving this year, and welcome him to our beautiful island home,” declared Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.
“This moment is a testament to the confidence that the market shows in Jamaica as well as the strength, resilience and enduring appeal of Jamaica’s tourism product as we build back stronger”.
Bartlett noted that majority of the increase in tourist arrivals to Jamaica occurred in the last four months and he expected the island to reach another million visitors by October this year.
“It’s wonderful to see more than one million guests already in this year of our 60th anniversary, with the bulk of arrivals having accrued in just the past four months and the expectation that we will welcome our next million stopovers in the next four months,” said Bartlett.
“We encourage everyone to explore the island, connect with our people and learn about our culture so they will want to come back to Jamaica again and again,” he said.
In addition to Minister Bartlett, Director of Tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Donovan White and Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay Richard Vernon, were on hand to mark the celebratory occasion. After offering a pleasantly surprised Brian and his mother Monica, a warm greeting, Minister Bartlett and White announced that this first-time visitor to the island will receive an all- expenses-paid return trip.
White indicated that the number of visitors to the island so far this year was a testament to the success of the island’s recovery efforts from the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. What is more, he said based on bookings for summer this year, Jamaica’s tourism product could surpass that of the record 2019 numbers.
“This occasion clearly demonstrates the success of Jamaica’s recovery efforts,” said White.
“We have been seeing a steadily increasing growth in stopover arrivals this year and, summer bookings pacing ahead of 2019 to be the strongest summer we have ever experienced,” he added.
In summer 2019, Jamaica welcomed some 250,584 long-stay visitors. The 2022 performance for Kingston is a far cry from what officials in Barbados are expecting. In fact, tourism officials in Bridgetown have been complaining about what is projected to be a very slow summer period although many in the sector have indicated that people tend to book last minute. (PR/MM)