Travellers, take note: Jamaica gears up with a robust tourism strategy to woo more visitors! Tourism, as a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive growth, wealth creation and job creation, also paves the way for community transformation – this is the vision of most countries that look to tourism for boosting their local economy. A good strategy for boosting tourism will draw in more tourists with the sustainable initiatives that are in sync with boosting the local economy, but will also keep safety as a top priority for those who are visiting the country. Undoubtedly, balancing international travel goals with one’s personal safety can be tricky under the current circumstances, but when done within the framework of comprehensive safety protocols linked to travel, it makes for a compelling argument in favour of travelling.
Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, has emerged as one of the powerful voices advocating for global tourism resilience. Not only is he the founder and Co-Chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management (GTRCMC) at the University of West Indies, Mona, but he is also an innovator with a proven track record in spearheading the development of Jamaica’s tourism industry.
Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected tourism, the effort for revival needs to be stepped up and prioritised on war footing, a fact that has got the immediate attention of Jamaica’s Tourism Minister.
Highlighting the efforts of reviving tourism post pandemic, Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, informs FinancialExpress.com, “Jamaica has been welcoming travellers since the country’s borders reopened in June 2020. Our health and safety protocols have been among the first to receive the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels recognition. Jamaica built a resilient corridor, which lets our visitors be in a safe bubble. And have had an infection level of 0.05%. We got the benefit of over 1 million visitors for the year so far. We also developed robust COVID management protocols, which are fully recognized and it is appreciated by the World Travel And Tourism Council. As a destination we anticipate that by the end of 2021, we will probably see footfalls around 1.6 million leading to about 2 billion in terms of tourism earnings.”
How has the pandemic impacted tourism in Jamaica?
The travel & tourism industry was badly hit because of the pandemic. Jamaica too lost a lot of travellers in 2020. But with rapid vaccination the world is opening up and we can feel the vibe. The recovery has been good for Jamaica which has enjoyed a V-shaped recovery.
Tell us more about Jamaica’s vision to reboot its tourism industry with linkages to Asia, most particularly India.
I am very positive about the growth of travel and trade potentials between India and Jamaica.
We are actively looking at developing new routes to travel to Jamaica. So, making the travel to Jamaica from India even more seamless is our priority. We are working with more airlines that are connected to India and travel to the US,and are keen on adding a Jamaica route for tourists from India.
Prior to the pandemic, Jamaica was aggressive about its promotional value in India. And we are keen to reconnect with tourists in your country again.
What is Jamaica’s vaccination policy for those keen to visit the country and what specific airport procedures are important to take note of?
Travellers to Jamaica must make sure they are fully vaccinated before travel. Pfizer & Covishield are recognized.
Protocols are: you need to have a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in Jamaica. You must complete the travel authorization form and get approval for the entry. And follow all the other time protocols that apply like wearing a mask, proper sanitation.
Do keep track of the latest regulations on the Visit Jamaica website.
In the coming year, what are the top 5 global travel trends you are gearing up for as a nation that is a leisure destination for many travellers?
These are the top global travel trends:
Enhanced transparency around health and safety tops the list
- Experience-based travel
- Leisure and immersive travel options
- Luxurious vacations
- Sustainable travel choices
In what ways is Jamaica stepping up to strengthen sustainable tourism development?
As the Tourism Minister I have vowed to push ahead with a renewed commitment to promoting sustainable tourism; designed not just to benefit the country’s tourism industry, but also preserve natural and cultural resources and stimulate economic growth for the domestic economy.
On various forums I have underscored that this can be achieved via meaningful partnerships and synergies; data-driven policies; innovative thinking and adaptation and human capacity-building. We also need to focus on the establishment of effective, real-time information systems; and a commitment to sustainable tourism development that balances multi-interests and future considerations whether economic, social, human, cultural and indeed, environmental.
Can you articulate more on the National Development Plan – Vision 2030 – from a travel and tourism perspective?
- Vision 2030 Jamaica – This National Development Plan is our country’s first long-term strategic development plan. It provides a comprehensive planning framework in which the social, economic, environmental and governance aspects of national development are integrated.
- Jamaica has had a long experience as a tourist destination, being a favoured retreat for travellers from across the globe.
- Jamaica has been one of the best-known resort vacation destinations in the world and currently boasts one of the most diverse visitor accommodation sectors in the Caribbean. This includes world famous all-inclusive resorts, upscale villas and hotels, and a range of distinctive tourist accommodations and tourist attractions.
- The Tourism Sector plan will have implications for other areas including transport, urban and regional planning, housing, services, agriculture and manufacturing.