Jamaica Launches Tourism Infrastructure Improvements Amid … – TravelPulse

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Jamaica is spending $140 million on improvements at Sangster International Airport, which Prime Minister Andrew Holness called “outdated.” (Photo by Brian Major)

Jamaica is launching tourism infrastructure improvements focused on Sangster International Airport while also undertaking studies to explore enhancements across several resort regions, government officials said this week.
The Montego Bay airport will receive an additional $70 million for “upgrading and modernization,” Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s prime minister said in a Jamaica Information Service report.  
Holness announced the funding this week while touring a $70 million runway extension and civil infrastructure project already underway at Sangster Airport.  
Describing Sangster’s infrastructure and mechanisms as “outdated,” Holness said the $140 million investment will update airport facilities and improve capacity for residents and visitors.  
About 70 percent of travelers arrive in Jamaica via the airport, said government officials. The extension project is slated for completion during the second quarter of 2023 and will extend the runway from 8,734 to 10,039 feet. 
Holness called the project a “strategic nation-building investment” that will “make Jamaica more attractive and competitive with other countries in the region” which he noted are also investing in transportation and tourism infrastructure.
Holness acknowledged Jamaica’s surging visitor arrivals have recently produced “significant bottlenecks in receiving passengers” at Sangster.  
He said the country is preparing to introduce paperless immigration process that will create “a seamless experience [while] traveling through the airport.”
Additionally, Jamaica’s government is launching a series of island-wide “public consultations” to explore “issues relating to tourism and its impact on the national economy,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister.
In a Jamaica Observer interview, Bartlett said the country’s tourism sector has grown by 36 percent in the past 30 years, far outpacing total economic growth, which he said reached 10 percent in the same period. 
Thus it is important that “all stakeholders know about the opportunities available within the sector,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett envisions the country “[at] the top of the list of aspirational destinations for travelers” and wants to create “[a] framework to ensure Jamaica’s brand integrity and brand promise.”
He said Jamaican tourism provides direct employment for 175,000 citizens and indirect employment for 354,000 others, including hotel workers, farmers, craft vendors, entertainers, and transportation operators.
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Brian Major is Managing Editor for Digital Publications & Guides/Caribbean.

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