Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has underscored that the outstanding performance of the tourism sector as outlined in the latest report by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) highlights the fact that tourism is driving Jamaica’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

This as he welcomed the PIOJ’s report which indicates that the tourism sector has contributed significantly to the country’s economic growth in the second quarter of the year.

The PIOJ yesterday (August 18) announced that the economy grew by 5.7% during the April to June quarter of 2022, compared with the same period in 2021, with the tourism and hospitality sector contributing substantially.

The PIOJ reported that the Real Value Added for Hotels & Restaurants grew by an estimated 55.4%, reflecting a sharp increase in visitor arrivals from all main source markets, and that for April–May 2022 total Foreign National arrivals was 399,310 visitors, representing an increase of 110.0% relative to the corresponding period in 2021.

Minister Bartlett stressed: “The figures from the PIOJ highlight the fact that the tourism industry is driving Jamaica’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.” He added: “The results are a clear indication of the resilience of the sector, which is rebounding steadily.”

As he embraced the news Minister Bartlett met with representatives of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and other industry stakeholders, including members of the Tourism Recovery Task Force, today (August 19), for a mid-year review of the sector.

It was also outlined that visitor spend is currently outpacing 2019 Levels. According to Jamaica Tourist Board figures, length of stay is back to the 2019 levels of 7.9 nights and more importantly the Average Spend per Visitor has increased from US$ 168 per night to US$ 182 per person per night.

Minister Bartlett notes that it simply means that the tourism sector is generating more foreign exchange per visitor. So, there is more money circulating in the wider economy and this benefits various players in the industry, such as attractions, the transportation sub-sector and artisans, thereby creating greater economic impact.

During the meeting, it was highlighted that since reopening in June 2020, Jamaica has welcomed over 3.5 million (3,556,394) visitors as at July 2022. Likewise, year-to-date the island has welcomed over 1.7 million visitors (1,714,956), an increase of 139.4% over the same period in 2021.

There was also an estimated increase of 10% in visitor arrivals for July 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. With increased arrivals month-over-month, Minister Bartlett said: “We remain optimistic that our performance figures will return to 2019 pre-COVID record levels by 2023.”