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Jamaica’s Director of Tourism Donovan White provided a thorough destination update to media representatives from around the world bright and early Monday morning at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The destination officially kicked off its annual JAPEX tourism conference, the first since the COVID-imposed pause, with an abundance of positive vibes, good news, and exciting plans.
JAPEX is Jamaica's annual tourism product exchange, and it's back and in-person for 2023. (Photo Credit: John Kirk)
Jamaica saw a total of 3,330,680 arrivals in 2022, including 852,294 cruise arrivals. The numbers, when crunched, saw the average length of stay grow to 8.1 nights with an average spend per visitor of US$183.67.
Arrivals & Earnings Are Both On The Rise
The island’s 2023 numbers are already showing significant signs of growth, with total arrivals forecasted to hit 3,882,766 by year-end. Jamaica has set an ambitious target for arrivals at a little over 5,000,000 by year-end 2025.
Blue Diamond Resorts is in the house to promote its growing presence in Jamaica. (Photo Credit: John Kirk)
Year-to-date numbers presented represent an increase of 5.2% in stopover arrivals in 2023 over 2019, along with a remarkable increase of 16.2% in earnings. On its face, 5.25% does not seem overly impressive; however, it is noteworthy that 2019 represented a record-breaking year for Jamaica. So, to say that Jamaica is "back" is not an understatement.
Philip Rose, Jamaica's Deputy Director of Tourism for the Americas, addresses the JAPEX audience. (Photo Credit: John Kirk)
Canadian stop-over arrivals are forecasted to see an increase of a little over 40% from 2022 numbers, topping out at 379,000. Canada represents the second largest market for the destination, forecasted to contribute 13.5% of total arrivals. The U.S. provides the lion's share at 72.6%, with the UK contributing 10.2%.
Online Immigration Processing Speeds Entry
Jamaica recently launched an online platform which allows clients to speed up their immigration processing substantially by completing all of the required documentation in a straightforward online process.
Having just experienced the new process, I can confirm this to be accurate. It is essential to note airlines will no longer be providing the paper forms on board. Instead, clients can click here to register electronically.
Tourism professionals get an update on Jamaica's strong post-pandemic return. (Photo Credit: John Kirk)
Airport Improvements & The Kingston Option
More good news: the new runway extension at Montego Bay International Airport will allow the Island to receive the largest aircraft in the market, including the A380 and A350. This improvement will assist in developing new markets, including India and the Middle East.
There are multiple highway infrastructure projects underway in Jamaica. Improvements include a Montego Bay bypass, dramatically improving transfer times when leaving MBJ and heading east on the Island.
Canadians looking to vacation or spend time in Jamaica’s beautiful Ocho Rios region may want to consider flying into Kingston. It can be more affordable from time to time, and the transfer time to hotels is roughly the same door-to-door as it would be flying into Montego Bay.
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John Kirk is President and Editor-In-Chief of TravelPulse Canada, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been in the Travel...
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