Jamaica’s tourism sector has started to rebound, with the island welcoming more than 211,000 visitors while generating US$231.9 million in foreign exchange earnings, since the reopening of its borders to international travellers on June 15.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, made the disclosure during the virtual launch of the two-day Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) Live 2020 exposition, on Monday (November 9).
He said that by the end of September, year-over-year arrivals was down by more than 60 per cent, “but we’re starting to see positive signs of a rebound,” noting that 30 per cent of workers have returned to their jobs.
“We are predicting a 40 per cent increase in arrivals over the coming months, compared to arrivals since reopening in June,” the Minister added.
In terms of airlift, Mr. Bartlett said that most of the major airlines serving Jamaica are increasing service as travellers’ demand picks up.
These include American Airlines, Delta, jetBlue, United, Southwest, Air Canada, WestJet, and Copa, across the region of the Americas.
He further indicated that online travel shopping company, the Expedia Group, also reported that searches on its website for Montego Bay rose 15 per cent in July, pointing out that Jamaica was among the most-searched-for destinations in the Caribbean.
JAPEX, which is being staged virtually this year for the first in its 30-year history due to COVID-19, runs from November 9 to 10.
It has attracted a record number of participants. They include nearly 2,000 travel agents, more than 250 tour operators, 120 supplier companies, as well as approximately 220 delegates and 137 media representatives.
Among the countries represented are the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, People’s Republic of China, India, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina.
JAPEX, which is Jamaica’s premier tourism industry marketplace, is a collaboration between the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).