MONTEGO BAY — For the first time since 2019, JAPEX, the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association’s premier trade event, is back in 2023.
The event kicked off Monday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the idea of being ‘back’ is undeniably the unofficial theme of this year’s event.
From Jamaica’s ‘Come Back’ marketing campaign playing a starring role across the event, to the celebration of Jamaica’s overall tourism numbers largely returning to pre-pandemic levels, there has been no shortage of elements underscoring tourism’s rebound in Jamaica throughout the conference.
“There’s only one way of measuring how well we’re doing and that’s in the numbers,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourism Board (JTB). White’s comprehensive destination update opened the trade event on Monday morning, and his statistics supported the theme.
Throughout 2022, Jamaica saw its arrival numbers nearly fully recover to the record levels set in 2019, and so far in 2023 Jamaica is poised to potentially match its pre-pandemic success. White attributed this success to the JTB’s strategic choices.
“We have really focused on engaging, and re-engaging our airline partners, particularly in North America,” he said.
For Canadians, this means more air service from Toronto to Jamaica in the coming months.
“We’re particularly proud of this development as we continue to diversify our seat capacity out of Toronto,” said White, noting that Canada Jetlines will begin flying from Toronto to Montego Bay starting this fall. Flights with Canada Jetlines are scheduled to start Nov. 5 on Saturdays and Sundays, on A320 aircraft, with the potential to ramp up to three flights weekly later in the winter. Canada Jetlines is also eyeing flights into Kingston.
And while White can’t say the name yet, there is another new Canadian carrier that will be flying from Toronto to Kingston beginning in December.
JAPEX 2023 continues at Montego Bay until Wednesday.
More of Zach’s coverage from JAPEX 2023 will be featured in an upcoming edition of Travelweek Daily