Visitor Relations Manager at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Andrea Savizon, says that despite the depressing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists still have not lost their appetite for travelling.
Speaking to JIS News recently at the Sangster International Airport, following the arrival of two JetBlue direct flights from out of Raleigh, North Carolina and Newark, New Jersey, the JTB Executive said that Jamaica remains a premier destination of choice and should have no problem maintaining its market share in the post-COVID era.
“Jamaica is both strategically placed and so amazingly well advanced in its health and safety guidelines that once this pandemic is over… we should have no problem maintaining our competitive advantage,” she noted.
“You can see from these two flights that came in… that persons are still excited about travelling… and Jamaica remains a popular choice. The appetite for travelling remains strong… very strong. That is the signal we are getting from the market,” she added.
Ms. Savizon said that Jamaica’s main source market, the United States, could be on the verge of an earlier-than-expected recovery following the good news last week that at least three potential anti-coronavirus vaccines could soon be in circulation, adding that a return to normality might not be as far away as previously thought.
Biotechnology firm, Moderna, on November 16 announced that its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 is 94.5 per cent effective, marking a second major breakthrough in the vaccine hunt.
Moderna released early results from a clinical trial with more than 30,000 participants after US pharmaceutical company, Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, last week said their vaccine was 90 per cent effective.
Moderna also said that it plans to submit applications for emergency approval in the US and around the world within weeks, and said it expects to have approximately 20 million doses ready to ship in the US by the end of the year.
“The United States market is yearning to travel… they are going to travel. The signals from that market… even with COVID and all… have been very encouraging. We just have to continue to be prepared and to do all that we can to keep Jamaica safe and secure,” Ms. Savizon said.
She further noted that the island’s self-styled resilient corridors should be given a lot of credit for how well they have been operating, adding that there has not been one known case of a tourist-related coronavirus infection since they have been so designated nearly seven months ago.
Ms. Savizon, in the meantime, noted that while projections, as they relate to arrivals and earnings, will be predictably off in 2020 and beyond, the JTB remains active in the marketplace and “has been putting in a lot of work to keep Jamaica visible in the minds of visitors”.