Jamaica welcomed its one millionth visitor by air in 2022 this week, according to representatives from the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism and the Jamaica Tourism Board. The visit is another illustration of Jamaica’s rapid recovery from previously imposed travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
The June 15 arrival of Jamaica’s first visitor, Brian Simmons, aboard JetBlue Flight 1479 from New York, was celebrated at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, where an official told Simmons that, as the millionth traveler to Jamaica in 2022, he would be reimbursed for all expenses. -paid return trip.
“This moment is a testament to the confidence the market is showing in Jamaica and the strength, resilience and enduring appeal of Jamaica’s tourism product as we build stronger,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism.
Bartlett agreed that Jamaica is set for a strong 2022-23 season. On June 4, the country welcomed new flights to Sangster International from Austin, Texas with new Saturday flights.
Bartlett said the new service marks a “strengthened relationship with the Southeast U.S. market” as part of “building the capacity to increase arrivals and develop a more reliable route going forward.”
He added: “The forecast for the summer of 2022 is that the number of arrivals will be higher than the corresponding period in 2019. Based on bookings, we are well ahead of 2019.”
Recovery is better
Bartlett stressed that Jamaica’s early work to establish the Global Resilience Center in Montego Bay was critical to the country’s ability to fight the pandemic.
“Already in January 2020, we set up a risk management task force, and by March, when the pandemic was officially declared, Jamaica had set up a recovery task force,” Bartlett said. “With that, we developed protocols. We invited Price Waterhouse as consultants. The World Travel and Tourism Council issued the Safe Travels certificate. We became the third country in the world to receive it.”
Jamaica has also worked to ensure the safety, financial viability of its tourism workers, and training them to work under the new health protocols.
“We were able to finance personal protective equipment for [hospitality and tourism] staff, including many still on vacation. We trained 20,000 employees who were online at home. Then we created the first Resilient Corridor, a bubble of our own, which was able to provide a certain level of security for visitors. All this allowed us to [tourism] a recovery that was faster than the rest of the world.
We managed to cope with this process, and we [hosted] 1.6 million visitors…