PUMPING UP THE JAM: Jamaica primed for record winter

Jamaica is set to have a record winter tourist season, with the Jamaica Tourist Board forecasting that it will welcome nearly 1.5 million visitors and earn approximately US$1.5 billion in foreign exchange, prompting the country’s tourism minister to declare, “We’re back to normal.”

Picking up on a full recovery from the COVID-19 fallout, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said: “This winter is going to be the best winter Jamaica has had, with record arrivals for the season projected at this time to be 950,000 for stopovers and 524,000 for cruise. So, that makes it pretty close to 1.5 million visitors for the season; the largest number of visitors we’ve ever had.”

He added, “These figures show that we are well ahead of our previous recovery projections and that Jamaica remains a safe and seamless destination that is in high demand. Our airlift is strong as we increase routes and connectivity, and cruise is back.”

The projected 1,474,000 visitors during the winter tourist season, which usually begins Dec. 15 and lasts until mid-April, represents a 67.5% increase in comparison to the same period in 2022. Earnings are projected to increase by 36.3%.

“This is even more special because we worked together to put tourism, the lifeblood of our economy, back on track after going through the most unprecedented global pandemic,” added Bartlett.

Director of tourism Donovan White added, “Jamaica’s brand position remains very strong, and we continue to see visitors come in droves to have authentic experiences from our food to our music and nightlife. We will continue the strategic positioning of the destination to ensure even more increases in arrivals and earnings.”

One Love Affair

Donovan White, Director of Tourism; Ann Shaw, The Travel Agent Next Door; Angella Bennett, JTB Regional Director, Canada; Donnie Dawson, JTB Deputy Director, The Americas.

Meanwhile, 60 top-performing North American travel advisors from the Jamaica Travel Specialist program were recently recognized and rewarded at the annual ‘One Love Affair’ in Montego Bay on the weekend, including 10 Canadian agents who were among a group of elite travel consultants that earned an all-inclusive trip to the island, culminating in the elegant award ceremony.

“Jamaica is projecting record-breaking arrival numbers for the upcoming winter season, and these loyal JTS agents from Canada and the United States have played a pivotal role in the destination’s success,” said director of tourism White. “The One Love Affair gives us an opportunity to come together to recognize these top travel specialists, celebrate their achievements, and thank them for their ongoing support.”

Canadian honourees included, from Ontario: Robyn Arnold, Sell Off Vacations; Pauline Blacoe, Shine Travel; Yvonne Campbell, Yvonne’s Travel and Tours; Andrea Lindsay, Your Travel Genie; Vanessa Martinez, Unforgettable Escapes; Jennifer Najak, The Travel Agent Next Door; Ann Shaw, The Travel Agent Next Door; plus Sharon Boissonneault, House of Travel, Que.; Courtney Pilon, Champagne Weddings & Travel, Alta.; and Lois Barbour, Travel Time TPI Inc., Nfld.

“Many of the Canadian agents participating in this year’s One Love Affair have been awarded for the very first time, which speaks to their incredible hard work and growth over the last year,” commented the JTB’s regional director for Canada, Angella Bennett.

As part of the One Love Affair weekend itinerary, agents were treated to reggae rafting at Lethe Village, a scenic catamaran tour, and an all-white beach party at Half Moon Resort. The elegant One Love Affair award ceremony featured dinner and dancing, a virtual presentation from Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, and a special performance by famed Jamaican Dancehall artist, Beenie Man (banner photo).


First published at Travel Industry Today