Jamaica Launches New Campaign as Visitor Numbers Soar – TravelPulse Canada

Destination & Tourism Marsha Mowers November 17, 2022
“The recovery couldn’t happen in any way, without travel agents and operators”, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told TravelPulse Canada in an interview for the launch of their new ‘Come Back’ Campaign.
Jamaica recently reached a major milestone – two million stopover visitors as of October, and is set to top three million for the full year. Bartlett said that’s largely in part due to advisors, and a reason why they’re in town this week. Canada continues to play a big part as we currently sit in the number three spot in terms of arrivals, which Bartlett expects us to return to the number two spot, citing Canada’s late lifting of travel restrictions as a factor for the slip.
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“The Canadian market is bouncing back well, considering it was the last to open. So in a matter of eight or nine months (since March/April), nearly 200,000 visitors came from Canada, which is a strong rebound. We hope that in 2023 we’ll see the full rebound of the Canadian market. Canada for us is very important, as it was our second largest source market.”
But it’s not just that visitors are returning; they’re spending more.
The country is regarded as the fifth fastest recovering destination in the world, the first in the Caribbean. They are at 97% of 2019 numbers and visitor spend is up significantly – 120% over 2019 to be exact, which amounts to $4.2 million more than 2019’s $3.7 billion in revenue.
Bartlett says the “bubble” that Jamaica created in their tourist corridor played a major factor in the island’s recovery, and airlines like Air Canada were strong supporters in continuing airlift during the pandemic. It allowed for tourists to still have the tourism experiences they always had in terms of excellent hotel and attraction offerings, which also helped drive the 42% repeat business the country enjoys.
While recovery is key, Bartlett says it’s not sufficient and the real challenge is growth.
“We are happy we’ve achieved our 2019 levels early, but we need to focus on the benefit to the community, to our society, to the economy of Jamaica. It’s not about returning to where you were but going to a higher level. That’s why I’m on the road and in every market and looking at new ones.”
At the CTO conference in September, Bartlett spoke about inter-regional connectivity to drive more arrivals forward, which he says are based on two basic factors: the more people arrive, the more spending that takes place. He has been in meetings with new markets like Saudi Arabia and with Ministers across the Caribbean to bring more traffic to the area and distribute that traffic to other countries in the region.
“Multi destination tourism is definitely a strategy in our forward planning, to enable a larger volume of visitors to come into the Caribbean and be dispersed into the different destinations.”
Bartlett says despite media reports of the State of Emergency earlier this week due to gang violence, Jamaica remains safe for travellers, with a less than 1% crime rate against tourists.
“These heightened security arrangements are in communities that by and large, are not in the touristic zone. These measures are all part of ensuring that we continue to keep our visitors and locals alike safe, secure, and to give tourists a seamless experience.”
Bartlett says agents can expect more FAM trips and development activities in 2023 as the tourism board strengthens its relationships within the industry.
“I know that the future is yours. And you will make it ours as well, by continuing to work towards achieving our objective of returning Canada to its number two spot, and then move beyond that. I enormously value the work of my travel partners here in Canada.”
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