Sustainable tourism alive and well in the city - Bartlett
Jamaica has surpassed its 2019 arrival numbers by five per cent, and is on track to bring 1.3 million stopover and cruise visitors for the winter tourist season which commenced on December 15, 2022 and ends April 15.
The country will also earn US$1.5 billion in revenue, a 120 per cent increase for the period, a record for the island in any winter tourist season, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told The Gleaner during the official reopening of The Jamaica Pegasus new pool bar and lounge as well as The Gardens.
The Hendrickson family, operators of the iconic Kingston hotel, spent over US$1 million on the transformational project.
“We are by far the leading destination in the Caribbean from a point of view of full recovery,” the tourism minister pointed out, adding that hotels such as The Jamaica Pegasus contributed to the island’s good fortunes.
He was quick to point out that the recovery was not only about stopover figures, but earnings which equate or exceed where a country was in 2019. “That’s what completes your recovery.”
His comments come as one of the country’s three international airports, Norman Manley International Airport, reports that 48 per cent or 58,000 of its passengers since the start of the winter season have been leisure travellers. This, Bartlett argued, establishes Kingston as a very strong destination.
For him, The Jamaica Pegasus has made the right move by giving much more than a facelift to its facility. Already, the hotel which boasts the reputation of being the most distinguished address for business and leisure hospitality has renovated all rooms on four floors of its high rise, with plans to continue its upgrades.
The hotel’s newly renovated pool bar was extended to four times its original size and now offers a covered lounge area seating up to 80 patrons. “Sustainable tourism is alive and well in the city,” was how Bartlett described the new experiences of what he tagged ‘city tourism’.
The tourism minister’s comments were bolstered by remarks from Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) presidents, respectively, Metry Seaga and Robin Russell, who both commended the Hendrickson family for putting their money where their mouths are.
“It is amazing what is happening in Kingston,” remarked Russell, who operates a family resort in the tourism capital, Montego Bay, St James. Two weeks ago Kingston copped an award for the Best Creative Destination for 2023 at the 9th Creative Tourism Awards at ITB in Berlin, Germany.
Like The Jamaica Pegasus, the rest of Kingston is presenting itself as the unquestionable cultural hub of Jamaica and the Caribbean.
In fact, Nicola Madden-Greig, who doubles as group marketing director at the hotel and president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA), explained the renaissance best.
“Our new pool bar and lounge represents a new lifestyle experience in the heart of the city. Our guests can expect an exceptional experience, with unparalleled service, and an ambiance that is welcoming,” she told the large gathering last Friday night.
The hotel’s general manager, Sheldon Seymour, is as excited announcing that the popular Friday night Let’s Lyme at the Poolside will be back, and other notable events such at Tuesday on the Grill will soon be relaunched.