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Jamaica 2024: What is Next for the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Destination?

In 2023, Jamaica’s tourism surged, welcoming over four million visitors and surpassing $4.2 billion in earnings, marking a remarkable 17.8% increase from the previous year. This surge highlights Jamaica’s resilience amidst global challenges, solidifying its position as a premier travel destination and a top choice for holidaymakers in the Caribbean.

Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, said, “The unprecedented success in tourism hasn’t just elevated Jamaica’s global prominence, but has also acted as a driving force for the overall national economic progress.”

The heart-warming resonance of Jamaica’s “Come Back” campaign continues to captivate global visitors, offering an invitation to rejuvenate one’s soul in Jamaica’s warm embrace. From explorations at the Rastafari Indigenous Village to indulging in the finest coffee in the world along the Jamaica Blue Mountain Culinary Trail, visitors embark on journeys uncovering unique flavours within this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. Bartlett continues, “The pursuit for authentic, eco-conscious experiences and cultural immersion is at the core of what travellers seek, and Jamaica excels in delivering just that.”

Following the “Come Back” campaign, Jamaica continues to push the boundaries as it sets plans to introduce 8,500 new rooms by 2025, a 33% increase in room capacity, and increase foreign exchange earnings by nearly 50%. Donovan White, Director of Tourism, said, “Our bullish tourism recovery plan has enabled us to set our targets high and implement our latest plans as we continue to unveil new horizons in tourism, with the exciting addition of Excellence Oyster Bay, Wyndham, and the vibrant arrival of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino”.

These new establishments embody the spirit of the island’s dedication to diverse hospitality experiences, inviting travellers to indulge in unparalleled luxury, authentic cultural immersion, and thrilling entertainment options.

Building on this momentum, Edmund Bartlett has set a target to welcome 250,000 visitors from the UK and Ireland by 2025, aligning with Jamaica’s position as the top Caribbean choice for British travellers. Jamaica’s tourism development enters an unprecedented phase with investments totalling $4 to $5 billion. Notable among the island’s developments is the projection of 20,000 new rooms in the next 10 to 15 years, including the much-anticipated debut of 2,000 new rooms in 2024. Exciting upcoming openings include the first 1,000 rooms of the Princess Grand Jamaica, the 753-room Riu Palace Aquarelle, and the 450-room Unico Hotel in Montego Bay.

Jamaica is committed to preserving its breath-taking natural landscapes, guiding stakeholders toward mindful and sustainable growth practices. Many accommodation offerings on the island have established sustainable and eco-friendly measures, earning recognition and certification from international organisations. With sustainability driving its robust tourism strategy, Director of Tourism Donovan White says, “We are blessed to showcase such a beautiful asset and will always strive to present our island at its fullest potential.”

Jamaica remains steadfast in preserving its rich culture and heritage, offering visitors immersive experiences through community tourism initiatives, further enriching its diverse offerings. From delving into the Rastafarian way of life to engaging in traditional cooking classes, visitors can actively contribute to preserving, respecting, and celebrating the island’s native culture.

Regarding airlift, the island’s accessibility continues to expand with a new Norse flight from Montego Bay that commenced on the 1st of December 2023, operating four times a week from London Gatwick. Furthermore, significant modernisation plans for Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, such as the $70 million runway expansion, infrastructure upgrades, and enhanced facilities like the first-ever Bob Marley branded restaurant, underline Jamaica’s commitment to visitor satisfaction and convenience.

Regional Director of UK & Northern Europe, Elizabeth Fox, said “With our visionary tourism recovery strategy fuelling the ‘Come Back’ campaign, we navigate beyond recovery to growth, with unwavering determination towards our goals.”

Jamaica’s proactive stance towards recovery and sustainability solidifies its standing as a top global destination, promising enriching experiences for those seeking natural wonders and cultural treasures.

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