According to Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Jamaica received 1.18 million visitors between January and March of 2023. This was the best winter tourism season recorded and set the nation’s travel industry on the path to continuing increases for the foreseeable future. The growth rate in the number of visitors to Jamaica in early 2023 represented a 94.4 percent increase over the same three-month period in 2022.
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Earnings in the Billions Comparative to 2022 period
The winter’s visitors also brought record-breaking earnings of $1.15 billion to Jamaica, an increase of 46.4 percent over the same period in 2022, which saw earnings of $786.8 million. Bartlett also announced that arrivals in Jamaica rose 117 percent in 2022, earnings for 2022 rose by 71.4 percent, year-over-year, in comparison to 2021, and the island welcomed 3.3 million visitors in 2022 when the industry generated $3.7 billion for the national economy. There was a notable post-COVID-outbreak trend in 2022 when travel from the United States to Jamaica experienced a surge. Also in 2022, Jamaica had its best summer season ever in terms of traveler arrivals.
Projected Tourism Earnings in the Billions for 2024
Projected earnings for the island’s tourism industry in 2024 are expected to bring in some $4.1 billion. Bartlett told Jamaica’s Parliament that the tourism industry is poised to transform the country, and its communities, and improve the lives and livelihoods of Jamaica’s people. The continued growth in the industry has given rise to projections that the national economy grew by between three and five percent from January through March 2023, compared to the same months in 2022. The growth rate is attributed to robust performance from hotels and restaurants.
At no other time in history has tourism had such a significant impact on contributions to the country’s economy, Bartlett said, noting that the government is willing to make contributions to the process so that all Jamaicans may share in the success of the tourism industry. Investments in the tourism industry have grown over the past five years, with investment in tourism representing 20 percent of Jamaica’s total foreign direct investments.
One of Jamaica’s larger income earning industry
Bartlett believes that investment over the next five to ten years will also add more to the industry, with a number of pending projects expected to add 15,000 to 20,000 new rooms on the island at a total value of between $4 billion and $5 billion. This will make tourism the biggest driver of economic growth and prosperity in Jamaica for many years to come, Bartlett added.