Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the sector is recovering at a faster than anticipated pace.
“We projected that we would recover to 2019 levels by 2023/24. We had a mid-year review in Ocho Rios this [past] weekend and I am very pleased to tell you that, to date, we have [had] 1.7 million visitors and they have spent just a little under US$3 billion,” he disclosed.
The Minister was addressing a town hall meeting hosted by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), at the Alterry Beach Club, at Priory Beach in St. Ann, on August 28.
Mr. Bartlett said that based on the outturns for the year to date, “we are… trending 90 percent against 2019.”
“When you look at what we are doing… you will see that in 2019, we earned US$ 3.6 billion for the entire year, and we have [only] gone eight months [in this year] and we are now at the edge of US$3 billion,” he pointed out.
The Minister noted 2022 predictions which indicate that visitors will spend over US$4 billion, “and that would easily be a 15 to 20 per cent increase from 2019.”
Mr. Bartlett credited the people of Jamaica for being the “main attractions” and the reason visitors spend while on the island.
“You, the people, are the most iconic attraction; it’s you why the tourists come [here]. You hone the experience that they consume; so, all the money that they spend, you are the reason they spend it,” he said.
The town hall meeting was held to discuss works to be done at Priory Beach. It is among those being developed across Jamaica under the TEF’s Beaches Development Program.
Mr. Bartlett informed stakeholders that the facility will create another opportunity for more money to be spent by visitors in the area.
He added that the development of Priory Beach also aims to “preserve and build green spaces, [because] you need somewhere to breathe, to walk, to stretch, and enjoy an unencumbered space.”
Designs for the development of the area were also shown to stakeholders during the meeting.
In attendance were TEF Executive Director Dr. Carey Wallace, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, and Member of Parliament for St. Ann Northeastern, Hon. Marsha Smith, Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councilor Sydney Stewart, and other senior officials.
The event was the second such face-to-face consultation with stakeholders in the area, following a town hall meeting that the TEF hosted in December 2021.
Source — JIS
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Edited by Jesus Chan
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