Jamaica’s tourism industry rebounded from the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to record three consecutive quarters of growth in 2021.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, says the country ended last year with a strong showing of more than 1.6 million visitors and US$2 billion in earnings.
“The industry’s success can be attributed to strong collaboration between the public and private sectors in implementing the Tourism COVID-19 Recovery Framework,” the Governor-General added.
He was delivering the Throne Speech during the 2022/23 Ceremonial Opening of Parliament at Gordon House on Thursday (February 10), under the theme ‘Building Our Jamaica: Peace, Opportunity and Prosperity’.
The Governor-General also said Jamaica has emerged as a global leader in advancing tourism resilience and sustainability.
This, he noted, is through the successful establishment of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, the Resilient Corridors, and world-leading COVID-19 health and safety protocols, “which have been guideposts to the [industry’s] safe and secure recovery”.
“On February 17, 2022, at the World Expo in Dubai, Jamaica will, in partnership with the Global Tourism Entity, launch the first Global Tourism Resilience Day to be observed annually,” he further advised.
The Governor-General said a Tourism Vaccination Task Force was also established to drive the immunisation of Jamaica’s 170,000 tourism workers.
He indicated that, to date, the vaccination rate among this cohort averages 70 per cent.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme to provide a financial safety net was launched in January 2022.
The Governor-General informed that, so far, 10,000 workers have registered with the fund, earning $43 million.
He also indicated that despite the pandemic, there is unprecedented investor interest in hotel and resort development, with 8,000 new rooms at varying stages of development and planning.