Thu | Dec 2, 2021

TUI to touch down in Montego Bay next week

Published:Friday | July 16, 2021 | 12:06 AM

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett expressed delight at the impending return of TUI, the largest carrier of United Kingdom (UK) tourists to Jamaica, after a 16-month absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related government travel restrictions.

“I am pleased with the planned return of TUI to Montego Bay in a week with almost daily flights between several UK cities and Montego Bay, Jamaica. We have been thorough in our management of the pandemic and our COVID-19 Resilient Corridor continues to be very professionally managed, leading to very strong confidence by our international partners as more folks look to enjoy a safe and fun-filled vacation. Our teams have been proactive even in the midst of the pandemic and we continue to reap positive results,” Bartlett said.

He made the comment from Nairobi, Kenya, where he is a lead speaker at an international tourism recovery summit. He will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and is also set to further Jamaica’s investment discussions with high-level Saudi Arabia government officials.

TUI is a British charter airline offering scheduled and chartered flights from the United Kingdom to destinations across the globe. The airline is the world’s largest charter airline, carrying 11.8 million passengers in 2019. It is also the fourth largest UK airline by total passengers carried.

Senior advisor and strategist in the tourism ministry, Delano Seiveright, noted that “TUI will commence services between the UK cities of London, Manchester and Birmingham and Montego Bay beginning July 22.

“In line with UK international travel trends, most passengers will be fully vaccinated and everyone vaccinated or not must present a negative COVID-19 test before being able to board a flight to Jamaica. Additionally, the UK foreign ministry no longer advises against travel to Jamaica, based on current COVID risk assessments, thereby easing TUI’s re-entry into the Jamaican space. Everyone should know that prior to the pandemic, TUI operated around 10 flights per week into Jamaica, more than British Airways and Virgin Atlantic combined, this is significant.”

GROWTH STRATEGY

Jamaica has been the beneficiary of several new and returned flights recently. Earlier this month, the tourism ministry and its agencies, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica Vacations, welcomed the return of non-stop flights by Condor Airlines between Frankfurt, Germany and Montego Bay and non-stop flights with Toronto, Canada by Air Canada. Jamaica also welcomed the start of new flights by Switzerland-based carrier, Edelweiss, between that country’s largest city, Zurich, and Montego Bay, after years of effort under Bartlett’s aggressive European tourism growth strategy.

The tourism ministry pointed to a number of factors aiding the rebound, including a series of proactive and strategic meetings with key stakeholders across the globe; the development of robust health and safety protocols for the sector, including the establishment of the Tourism COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which has a very low average COVID-19 infection rate of 0.6 per cent; and, importantly, the high vaccination rates in key source markets allowing for less travel restrictions and growing ease for travellers.