Time to lure retirees to Jamaica
If Jamaica wants to see prosperity like never before, the country should review its focus on attracting retirees to return to Jamaica. Many in the diaspora would return in a heartbeat if crime were under control and health care improved.
Retirees bring with them their life savings and monthly pension income in a foreign currency. Non-Jamaican retirees are also a lucrative market if incentives were attractive enough to make them want to live in Jamaica as opposed to other popular destinations like Panama, Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
These countries have for years offered incentives to retirees wishing to live in warmer climates and they boast large expat retiree communities. Mexico is home to most expat retirees from North America, more than any other country, and popular cities have seen a boost economically as a result. Panama offers many discounts to retirees and has been popular with retirees from USA and Canada. The income earned has helped to develop the country’s infrastructure and vital services.
Other countries in Europe, such as Spain and Portugal, have been popular choices for retirees looking for warmer climate, a cultural change, and a healthier lifestyle. Some stay for part of the year, others relocate permanently under special retirement visas which allow them to live in these countries without working.
With remote work being an option to many, early retirement is also becoming popular. Most people spend more than 1/3 of their lives working and eventually find an easygoing lifestyle away from the hustle more attractive. Jamaica has the advantage of year-round sunny weather; health tourism with mineral spas and beaches; we also have diverse entertainment, sports, restaurants, etc. Since retirees income is based on foreign currency, any spending is a boost to economic activity and gross domestic product.
If we can attract more Jamaican-born retirees, the income flows could help significantly to improve health-care facilities and security. We should also not ignore non-Jamaican retirees if we can be creative with retiree residency options.
Our number one priority, however, should be aimed at developing effective strategies to reduce crime. This would make Jamaica more attractive not just to visit but a great place to live, work, play, and retire.