Director of Tourism, Donovan White, has commended stakeholders in the sector for their resilience and unwavering commitment to brand Jamaica during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mr. White, who was speaking to JIS News following a recent reception to mark the reopening of the RIU Montego Bay Hotel, said Jamaica is grateful to all those who have chosen to stay the course.
He noted that RIU, which operates five of its six hotels in Jamaica, has been an excellent partner.
He noted that the reopening of the Montego Bay property, after a complete renovation, will help to boost the country’s tourism product, while providing jobs for workers, most of whom have been laid off for the past nine months.
“To have a partner who is continually looking to improve its product so that when the visitor comes back they are having a better experience and having a better product to offer to the world is a phenomenal thing, and we want to thank RIU for that,” Mr. White said.
“They have not only refurbished but they have added 140 rooms. That is very important for our industry to grow and expand our room stock because that is part of the product that we offer to the world,” he added.
The Tourism Director, in the meantime, said that there is every evidence to suggest that visitors have not lost their appetite for travelling, noting that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) data show that there will be some 450,000 additional seats from the United States (US) during the winter tourist season “which is our main source market and where we get 70 per cent of our business”.
“To have our airline partners out of the US commit to that kind of seat load additionally for the winter, at a time when the industry is rebounding, is extremely good for us,” he told JIS News.
“It’s a massive sign of confidence in Jamaica and so we welcome that and we are going to continue to work closely with all our partners to ensure we continue to build that confidence. We will continue to grow from strength to strength as we build the industry back over the next two years,” he said.