Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica is poised to generate approximately US$1.5 billion in earnings from some one million visitor arrivals by the end of August as the sector rebounds from the ravages of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said the projections are based on out-turns over the last seven months during which nearly 700,000 tourists visited the island’s shores.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the overall figure for the period exceeds 800,000 when coupled with general passenger arrivals and is set to reach the one million mark over the next several weeks.
The Minister maintained that the current and projected out-turns are testament to sector’s resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that “no other industry could do that in seven months… [but] the tourism industry has”.
He was speaking during the digital opening ceremony for the seventh staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ tradeshow at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Thursday (July 22)
Mr. Bartlett further highlighted that more than 50,000 tourism industry workers have been reinstated in jobs over the last six months, noting that the sector has, in many ways, bounced back and grown faster than several other areas of Jamaica’s economy.
The Tourism Minister pointed out that the focus on recovery is being done even as the country continues to deal with the “awesome” challenge of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, which, he said, is characterised by uncertainty.
“What it requires of us is nimbleness… an ability to pivot, to respond, adapt and change… in the face of uncertainty. It’s a great call on the Government, on the individuals, as well as the institutions that operate within the wider community,” he said.
The ‘Christmas in July’ tradeshow is a collaborative initiative of the Tourism Linkages Network – a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
The signature annual event, which attracted approximately 250 participants this year, provides an opportunity for local producers of corporate gifts and souvenirs to promote their products to alternative market segments.