2023 winter tourist season to be Jamaica’s best, says Bartlett
KINGSTON, Jamaica – With nearly 130,000 more airline seats compared to the 2022/2023 period, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says the upcoming winter tourist season will be the best in Jamaica’s history.
Bartlett, who is currently on official Government business overseas said “to think of where we are coming from during the COVID-19 debacle in 2020 to where the tourism industry is, has exceeded all expectations”.
The minister said that he is especially pleased that places like Port Antonio should be seeing its fair share of visitors, noting that along with Falmouth in Trelawny and St Mary, “we are confident” that everyone will be happy.
“Nobody could have predicted this kind of recovery… so fast and so seamless. From Negril to Port Antonio, hoteliers should see a lot of action, which will trickle down to residents. Kingston and the South Coast should do very well also, making tourism truly inclusive. And don’t forget about the Airbnbs… . They will also be making their presence felt,” Bartlett said.
“We have not only recovered but we are posting stratospheric numbers, never seen before… record airline seats and record connectivity. This will be a winter season to remember,” he added.
Bartlett said that 1.05 million airline seats have been secured from nearly 6,000 flights coming into Jamaica out of the United States, Jamaica’s biggest source market, during the winter season, which begins on December 15, adding that the surge in airlift represents an increase of 13 per cent over winter 2022/2023, when “we recorded a whopping 923,000 airline seats”.
He noted that, to date, 10 airlines have some 5,914 flights booked out of key US gateways to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston between January and April 2024, “adding to the flurry” expected over the 2023 Christmas holiday period.
“The forthcoming 2023/2024 winter tourist season will be an extraordinary milestone for our country, representing the largest influx of visitors from the United States we have ever witnessed. This development is a testament to the exceptional appeal of the Jamaican experience and the growing trust in our tourism sector,” the minister said.
Bartlett underscored the tireless efforts of the Jamaica Tourist Board and agency partners, who have been instrumental in driving this surge in visitor arrivals.
He also emphasised that the expansion in air seat capacity presents a unique opportunity for various stakeholders to boost their businesses.
“Accommodation providers, tour operators, restaurants, and other local enterprises are encouraged to capitalise on this predicted influx of tourists by ensuring they are well-prepared to deliver unforgettable experiences,” Bartlett added.
The minister said the growth in airline seats is reflective of the strong partnership between the Government and key airline operators in the United States, noting that the continued collaboration reinforces the Government’s commitment to fostering sustainable economic development through tourism, while also enhancing international travel connectivity to the island.