Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Bartlett lauds tourism’s rapid recovery

Published:Wednesday | June 23, 2021 | 12:06 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Bartlett
Bartlett

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica’s tourism sector continues to lead the recovery efforts for the island’s economy, earning the country’s coffers US$1.31 billion, of which US$97.58 million has been accrued directly by the Government.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett made the announcement on Monday afternoon, days after the June 15 first anniversary reopening of the island’s borders, which were closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Based on our run rate forecast of visitor arrivals for June 2021, Jamaica would have received an estimated total of 816,632 visitors since reopening in June 2020. Of the total visitor arrivals, 510,359 or 62 per cent, came to Jamaica since January 2021,” Bartlett told The Gleaner on Monday afternoon.

The tourism minister, who returned recently from the first face-to-face European trade show in Spain since the pandemic, was quick to point out that these numbers did not include passengers arriving on a Jamaican passport. In addition, cruise shipping, which has played a pivotal role in the country’s tourism numbers, is yet to return.

Ninety per cent of the business is being generated by the US market.

The estimated earnings see the Tourism Enhancement Fund bringing in US$16.3 million for the period; departure taxes, US$28.5 million; and visitor expenditure a whopping US$1.2 billion.

Airport improvement fee, airline passenger levy, passenger fees and charges, all combined, reflect a total of over US$51 million, said the statistics released by Director of Tourism Donovan White.

“No other sector has earned the level of foreign exchange and job recovery,” Bartlett posited, and the 50,000 tourism workers back on the job is proof.

The tourism minister is crediting the Resilient Corridor, which, he argues, has an enviable record of a mere six per cent positivity rate of COVID-19 infection.

MARKETING TOOL

He described the initiative as a powerful marketing tool for the destination, and one that has given confidence to the country.

“Tourism leads the economic recovery,” he boasted, hardly able to hide the excitement in his voice.

Bartlett also spoke about the impact the rapid recovery was having on social development for all elements of the country. “It means the numerous linkage points of the economy are becoming re-energised and the well-being of the society ensured,” he stated.

His comments have been bolstered by the demand for goods and services, which extensively covers agriculture, services, technologies, entertainment and utilities.

Since January of this year, the sector has purchased more than J$330 million of water from the National Water Commission, a research by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association has shown. Meanwhile the sector has spent J$3 billion in energy from the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com