Edmund Bartlett, Tourism Minister of Jamaica, says that there is every indication that 2023 will be a great comeback year for the country’s hospitality sector, where both earnings and arrivals are expected to exceed pre COVID-19 levels.
Bartlett said that tourism earnings (over the same corresponding period) have already exceeded 2019, while arrivals are just a trifle behind. He was speaking at the World Travel Awards Caribbean and Americas ceremony, at Sandals Montego Bay, on August 31.
“Based on the trajectory, we have every reason to believe that 2023 will be an unbelievable year for tourism. We have recovered faster than anybody could have imagined, and for this I must commend the team at the Ministry of Tourism and also all of our international partners,” he added.
The Minister also noted that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) saw a jump in earnings from April to July, pulling in more than $2.4 billion over the period, and representing a 20 per cent increase when compared to pre-COVID-19 earnings.
The Minister Bartlett said that not only was the destination close to full recovery but that Jamaica continues to strengthen its resilience and remains on par with rival competitors – the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
“Without a doubt, our recovery numbers are the best in the English-speaking Caribbean,” he pointed out.
“We are also a model for many tourism-dependent countries, many of whom have patterned their recovery programmes off what we have managed to do here in Jamaica,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bartlett said it was with great pride and honour that Jamaica hosted the World Travel Awards, noting that it speaks volume as to how well “recognised and respected” the destination has become in tourism circles.