August 19, 2022
The tourism sector is still recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak over three years later. Fortunately, Jamaica's tourism sector has nearly fully recovered, according to Edmund Bartlett, the country's minister of tourism.
“The good news is that Jamaica has now recovered 90 percent from the COVID-19 pandemic in the tourism sector,” says Bartlett.
Bartlett continued, “our recovery in terms of arrivals this year is likely to be well over 3 million, and we are also expecting our earnings will be just about $100 million, or so, below our best earnings in 2019 of $3.7 billion.”
Main source markets for Jamaica are also experiencing a robust recovery, he claimed. That includes an excellent result from the United Kingdom, which indicates an increase in travel from the nation of 6% compared to the year 2019.
“The US has come back very strongly (as well), and while Canada is lagging behind a little, progress is being made,” he said.
Jamaica’s strong tourism summer also benefitted from the return of the Reggae Sumfest music festival. 2022 has seen a wave of relaunched festivals across the Caribbean, from the St. Kitts Music Festival to a number of popular summer carnivals, but Reggae Sumfest is arguably the most popular.
The legendary Montego Bay celebration was held for the first time since the pandemic from July 18-23.
“We were thrilled to see such a great turnout for the return of Reggae Sumfest this year,” said Bartlett. “Even with the option of live-streaming the event, it was wonderful to have so many people choose to travel to Jamaica and attend the event in person. The success of Reggae Sumfest 2022 is a testament to the return of travel, especially for events, and the continuing strong recovery of the sector.”
Established in 1993, Reggae Sumfest is the largest music festival in Jamaica and throughout the wider Caribbean. This year’s event featured performances from star acts such as Beres Hammond, Koffee, Dexta Daps, Beenie Man, Sizzla, and more.
“While Jamaica is a small island nation, our music clearly has influence on a global scale as evidenced by the international travelers arriving to experience Reggae Sumfest,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board. “It’s truly gratifying to see so many people coming together over a shared love of reggae and dancehall music here in the birthplace of the genre itself.”
Jamaica was one of the first Caribbean destinations to reopen after the onset of the pandemic back in the summer of 2020, and has been leading the way in recovery ever since.
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