Come on and smile (in Jamaica)
Get it together (in Jamaica)
Get together now (in Jamaica)
– Bob Marley, “Smile Jamaica”
Come on and smile indeed. That is what thousands of tourists are doing now in Jamaica as well as the bars, hotels, restaurants as well as the Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, as tourism is increasing to pre-pandemic levels making Jamaica one of the hottest vacation destinations in the Caribbean.
“The tourism sector is back on track with another record weekend of stopover arrivals, with close to 35,000 visitors coming through the Sangster and Norman Manley international airports combined, between Thursday, March 10 and Sunday March 13,” Bartlett said.
This number is up from 30,000 arrivals the previous weekend. And it’s only going to get better from a tourism standpoint.
“We expect that this March will be the strongest in terms of arrivals since the pandemic disrupted worldwide tourism in 2020 and we expect in excess of 200,000 coming to Jamaica for the month,” Bartlett added.
The Jamaican economy continues to open up with the continued relaxation of COVID-19 measures while also maintaining basic health and safety protocols. This is going to lead to improvements at Sangster International Airport to get passengers out of the airport more quickly and into the places where they can enjoy Jamaica and spend their money.
“We are going to have to look at accelerating the expansion, particularly at the arrival end to ensure there are more immigration stations and also that the distribution systems allow for a more seamless passage through the terminal by our visitors,” Bartlett said.
In early June, American Airlines is adding weekly flights from Austin, Texas to Montego Bay on June 4, flying a 76-seat aircraft on Saturdays. And the airlines are not the only places that are picking up the tourism pace. The cruise lines are coming back, as well.
Jamaica welcomed the return of the Marella Explorer 2 home porting in Montego Bay and Bartlett is working to attract back other cruise lines and passengers, as well. He said that “after this resumption of homeporting in Montego Bay it will go to Port Royal and will be back on a full cycle of every week, having the Marella coming to Montego Bay for the weekend and moving out to other ports in the Caribbean.”