Although there was a closure of Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport that caused flights to be redirected to Norman Manley International in Kingston for a few hours in August, overall, Jamaica’s business sector experienced many positive developments in 2023. Jamaicans were thrilled to see the opening of a new Krispy Kreme franchise in Kingston as the unemployment rate in the country fell to a historic low. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA), and Jamaica received the best credit rating from Standard & Poor’s since 1999.
Huge Crowds Attended the Official Opening of the new Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise in Kingston
On June 3, 2023, the official opening of a new Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise in Kingston attracted large crowds. Doughnut fans started lining up at 4 am as they hoped to be among the shop’s first 100 customers, who had been promised prizes by the franchise. According to the group CEO of Restaurant Associates Limited, Lisa Lake, the holder of the local Krispy Kreme franchise, the organization was excited to welcome the crowds who came to enjoy the featured musical entertainment and other activities during the festive opening day. Krispy Kreme is the latest brand to be included in the portfolio of Restaurant Associates, which also holds Popeye’s, Little Caesar, and Burger King franchises.
Runway Shutdown Temporarily Redirects Flights from Sangster International Airport to Kingston
Due to a runway closure at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, flights were temporarily redirected to Kingston’s Norman Manley International facility on August 10, 2023. The airport issued a statement that the runway had been closed on a temporary basis and that no flight operations would occur for a few hours that morning. MBJ Airports Limited, which is responsible for the facility’s operations, worked to resolve the technical issues that caused the shutdown and told all departing passengers to check in for their flights as normal.
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Presented with Lifetime Achievement Award
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) for his efforts in promoting sustainable travel and tourism. The award was presented to Bartlett at PATWA’s summit meeting in Berlin, Germany. The organization presents awards to honor outstanding work by individuals and organizations in the promotion of tourism in various sectors of the travel industry, including hotels, travel agencies, tour operators, government bodies, tourism ministries, and other providers. Bartlett thanked PATWA for the honor and shared that he was passionate about tourism, especially the sustainable development of tourism. Only by promoting sustainable tourism can the travel industry be leveraged to provide the kind of economic growth that can transform communities and nations.
Jamaica Experienced Its Lowest Unemployment Rate in History
According to the April 2023 Labor Force Survey, the unemployment rate in Jamaica dropped to a new low, with more Jamaicans working at that time than at any other in the island’s history. The data reported by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) showed that the unemployment rate in the country was 4.5 percent. This was 1.5 percentage points lower than the rate in a comparable period in 2022 and lower than the reported rate in July, which totaled 6.6 percent. In April 2023, 61,300 people were unemployed in Jamaica, 19.700 fewer than in April 2022. The drop was attributed in part to a reduction in the number of unemployed women.
Highest Credit Rating Received by Jamaica Since 1999
Jamaica’s credit rating was upgraded by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) to a BB-, the best rating the nation received since 1999 when the agency began rating the island’s sovereign debt. S&P upgraded Jamaica’s Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from B+ to BB- and added a stable outlook for the country. The agency said the stable outlook reflected expectations that Jamaica’s government would continue its commitment to prudent fiscal policies and debt reduction and to support economic moves, including a flexible exchange rate and effective monetary policy.
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