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  • Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Government is monitoring industry developments in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in key visitor source markets.
  • He advised that contact is being maintained with overseas partners as part of efforts to keep abreast of the extent of the outbreak and how this could impact bookings and visitor arrivals.
  • “As it stands now, bookings are showing a holding pattern. But we know that that is not likely to prevail within the next two to three months,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Government is monitoring industry developments in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in key visitor source markets.

He advised that contact is being maintained with overseas partners as part of efforts to keep abreast of the extent of the outbreak and how this could impact bookings and visitor arrivals.

“As it stands now, bookings are showing a holding pattern. But we know that that is not likely to prevail within the next two to three months,” Mr. Bartlett said.

He was addressing the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 4), which is now examining the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure.

Mr. Bartlett pointed out that since the outbreak, there has generally been fewer bookings from the continental sections of Europe such as Germany and France.

He noted, however, that “the United Kingdom (UK) holds for the moment, the US is holding well and so is Canada [and] South America”.
The Minister said that in keeping with efforts to protect citizens from the threat of the virus, Jamaica has had to return flights from Italy and that “bookings have literally ceased from that market”.

“There is going to be some softening. We are watching to see how March operates, particularly because March has Spring Break… carnivals and so on. This is a very important month for us to watch to see how the trends go,” he said.

“We are very conscious and we monitor the market every day and we are in touch with our partners… so we see when the ‘shakings’ begin and we will be able to adapt accordingly,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett assured that there is a “silver lining” in relation to, for example, cruises for the summer, as Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean are usually “the strong areas” for the period.

“We feel that the Caribbean is going to be a beneficiary based on what’s happening there. So we could see some changes, particularly with cruise [arrivals] in an upward way,” he said.

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