“We’re back to normal”: Jamaica reports record winter season
Jamaica's Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett at Sangster International Airport

“We’re back to normal”: Jamaica reports record winter season

MONTEGO BAY — Jamaica is on track to have a record winter season, with close to 1.5 million visitors expected to arrive on its shores.

Speaking at the annual breakfast appreciation for staff at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay last week, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett reported that the anticipated visitors this winter season, which runs from Dec. 15 to mid-April, will result in an approximate $1.5 billion in foreign exchange, a 36% increase on 2019, making 2023 the strongest winter earnings in Jamaica’s history.

A total of 1.3 million seats are expected on flights during the season, with over 900,000 coming from the United States. Projections for record arrivals for the season also include 950,000 for stopovers and 524,000 for cruise.

“That makes it pretty close to 1.5 million visitors for the season, the largest number of visitors we’ve ever had,” said Minister Bartlett. “These figures show that we are well ahead of our previous recovery projections and that Jamaica remains a safe and seamless destination that is in high demand.”

He added: “We’re back to normal and I want to really thank all our stakeholders for the enormous work that they have put into enabling this very strong growth-filled recovery.”

Compared to last winter, the Minister said winter 2022/23 should come out with a 29.6% increase in stopover arrivals. Concurrently, with cruise last winter, Jamaica had 146,700 passengers, while this winter “we are expecting a whopping 257% increase.”

The overall picture for winter tourist season arrivals is that “last year we had 879,927, and this winter 2023 we’re projecting 1.47 million visitors for the period, a massive 67.5% increase,” Minister Bartlett added.

Comparatively, earnings stood at just over US$1 billion for last year, while stopovers only should produce $1.4 billion during the winter period, a 33.4% increase. With cruise being down last year due the pandemic, Jamaica earned only $14 million but now expects to pull in $51.9 million this year.