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Countries all over the world are breaking records as tourism returns with a vengeance after being dampened for years due to the health crisis.
Pent-up travel demand has meant countries in Africa are seeing a surge in visitors, European cities are bursting at the seams, and top spots in Mexico have welcomed more tourists than ever before.
Caribbean nations are also seeing more tourists than ever and are adding flights and hotel capacity to accommodate the increased demand.
Jamaica, a country that Americans have long had a love affair with, is no different. In fact, recently reported tourism numbers show that the island nation has just reached a momentous new milestone.
Coming off a record-breaking 2022 of welcoming 3.3 million visitors, Jamaica just had its busiest winter season in history.
According to Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, the country welcomed 1.18 million tourists between the months of January, February, and March 2023.
That number represents a 94% increase over the previous peak tourist season and shows no sign of slowing down.
Tourism is vital to Jamaica’s economy, so the recent increase in visitors, and the $3.7 billion they brought with them last year, has been valuable input to the nation’s GDP.
Projections for 2024 anticipate an even bigger increase, meaning that ongoing investments in the tourism industry are set to continue.
Minister Bartlett said investment projects in the pipeline over the next 5-10 years are anticipated to add 15,000 – 20,000 new hotel rooms in Jamaica. Those rooms will be in high demand if the tourism numbers continue to rise.
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Tourism in Jamaica is booming, but why is it doing so well? Despite ongoing problems throughout the country, tourists continue to arrive in record numbers.
In recent years Jamaica has issued several State of Emergency declarations in response to widespread problems throughout the nation.
The most recent State of Emergency was declared just last December and has continued throughout the winter. On top of that, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory for Jamaica.
There is currently a level 3 “reconsider travel” advisory for the entire country.
Additionally, the department has issued its most severe level 4 “do not travel” advisory for several specific regions within Jamaica.
With a high crime rate, constant problems with gang activity, and a surge in violence and murder, Jamaica is far from perfect. But despite all the headlines and travel warnings, visitors continue to arrive.
In fact, the State of Emergency and U.S. Department of State travel advisories have been in effect throughout the recent record-breaking travel surge. It is clear that visitors continue to feel safe in Jamaica, and that trend is unlikely to stop.
Americans make up the largest share of Jamaica’s tourists, and there are several reasons why they continue to visit.
Firstly, because most tourists stay in resort complexes, they are largely shielded from the crime and violence that Jamaicans face every day.
Resorts offer visitors a polished version of the nation – exclusive beach access, controlled entry, and luxurious amenities. Even tourist attractions outside of resorts take care to put their best foot forward.
Secondly, the natural beauty of Jamaica is simply incredible. From pristine beaches and scenic rivers to waterfalls, jungles, and moody mountains, Jamaica has so much to explore.
Additionally, Jamaica is one of the most accessible vacation destinations for U.S. tourists. Over 25 North American cities have direct flights to Montego Bay, which are typically very affordable.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, tourists love visiting Jamaica to experience something they can’t find anywhere else – Jamaican culture.
The food, music, celebrations, history, art, nightlife, and people that make up the nation’s unique culture is truly one-of-a-kind and is an incredible asset to the tourism industry.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Wednesday 26th of April 2023
If people are only staying at all-inclusives, they are not seeing Jamaican culture; just a “disneyland” version that’s scrubbed for tourists. I miss the old days when we made friends with our hotel staff and could interact with locals other than just the hustlers.
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