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Bartlett predicts 100% increase in stopover visitor arrivals this year

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is forecasting an increase of over 100 per cent in stopover visitor arrivals this year over the previous year, which was severely affected by COVID-19.

“Madam Speaker, the general outlook for the upcoming fiscal year is quite positive as we expect to realise growth of 122 per cent on earnings and 236 per cent in visitor arrivals. Of this number, we hope to welcome 1.043 million stopover visitors, which is a 117 per cent increase over last year’s stopover numbers,” Bartlett stated during his sectoral presentation last week.

He said the first three months of 2021 were positive, revealing that some 40,055 visitors were welcomed in January, 40,076 in February, and over 69,040 in March.

Bartlett also revealed that data have indicated that by the end of next month, Jamaica should have up to 60 per cent coverage of the United States market.

“We also anticipate that some 800,000 airline seats will become available for the upcoming summer, a number that is approximately 70 per cent of the level experienced in 2019,” the tourism minister stated.

He underscored that tourism is now the key driver of most economies across the world, including Jamaica.

“My colleague Minister, Hon Nigel Clarke, noted in his budget presentation that foreign exchange inflows from tourism are expected to fall by 74 per cent for the 202-2021 fiscal year, which is a US$2.5 billion decline, and will set back the country by 30 years,” said Bartlett.