Steadily regaining growth since the novel coronavirus pandemic and following sharp upticks in passenger numbers, airport hospitality company Express Catering Limited (ECL) has sharpened its outlook, looking to reap greater results from the upcoming winter tourist season when it begins in December.
Operating a number of local and international food franchises to passengers travelling through the departure lounge of the Sangster International Airport such as Dairy Queen, Quiznos, Grab N Go, Wendy's, Starbucks among several others, the airport food services company, after undertaking a number of facilities upgrade and the addition of new infrastructure, is pushing to have outstanding areas ready in order to service the boom in air traffic which they expect in the coming months.
"The upcoming winter season promises to be the biggest since COVID-19. We plan to welcome it with the full roll-out of concepts â€” Bob Marley One Love, Freshens and Benito Sushi," directors Ian Dear and John Byles said in a signed report attached to the company's latest financials.
The three concepts mentioned are to become the newest additions to ECL's growing list of food entities which it operates at the Montego Bay-based airport. Bob Marley One Love is the first in what will become a franchise globally while Freshens, a healthy food restaurant and Benito Sushi, one of Japan's largest sushi restaurants, further brings diversity to the over two dozen restaurants operated by ECL.
"We remain optimistic about Jamaica's buoyant tourism arrivals surpassing 2019 totals," the directors also said, adding that while construction work remains ongoing at its post-security food and beverage lounge of the airport, it was expecting full completion of the projects, some of which were slowed by supply chain challenges, to be realised by the end of this year.
Witnessing a 37 per cent increase in the total number of passengers accessing the departure lounge at the end of its first quarter ended in August, ECL said that the almost 627,000 persons seen was a significant improvement on the 432,000 for the similar period last year.
With Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett having predicted a full recovery for tourism by early next year, the sector, which has so far welcomed over one million visitors, is also touted to be on track in meeting or even surpassing the projected 3.2 million in arrivals and US$3.3 billion in revenues this year.
At the end of the three-month period, the company produced increased revenues of US$4.9 million-US$1.5 million more than the prior year's period. This was accompanied by profits of US$652.8 million and earnings per share of $0.040.
"We are very encouraged by the continuous increase over prior year totals and expect this trend to continue for the rest of fiscal 2023," the directors further noted.