The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) reported that Jamaica is ranked at the top of the list of bookings by travelers from the United States to the Caribbean. The JTB made its announcement at a meeting of senior executives of the Flight Center Travel Group Ltd. (FLT), one of the biggest travel organizations in the world, at the group’s US headquarters in New Jersey. These executives were optimistic about tourist bookings for Jamaica in 2023 and 2024 as well, news that was welcomed by Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister. Bartlett noted that the US is Jamaica’s largest source of travelers.
Donovan White, Jamaica’s director of tourism who was present at the meeting, was also optimistic about the local tourist industry. According to White, Jamaica is working “aggressively” toward recovering from the lockdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it cannot effectively recover with help from partners like FLT. With the rebound of travel, Jamaica seeks to ensure that it is the first choice of destination by tourists. The island has already experienced strong recovery trends from the pandemic, having obtained record-breaking numbers of arrivals and earnings over those in 2021.
Jamaica was host to over 1.54 million overnight visitors in 2021, with the visitor totals driven by vacationers from the US. Between March 3 and 6, 2022, however, Jamaica saw some 27,000 visitors, the highest number since the nation reopened its borders to travelers in June of 2020. Bartlett expects the current trend to continue, which would mean that the country ends the first quarter of 2022 with 925,000 stopover arrivals that represent earnings of US$1.7 billion. He went on to predict that by the end of 2022, visitor arrivals would total 2.92 million with earnings of US$3.58 billion, very near the earnings obtained prior to COVID in 2019.
FLT was established 40 years ago and is based in Australia, with offices in many countries around the world. Bartlett noted that it was an integral part of the tourism industry’s recovery plan to meet with long-term partners like FLT to gain perspective on the overall tourism market and projections. He welcomed the fact that Jamaica remained “top of mind” among industry stakeholders.