Four months ago, Jamaica’s robust tourist industry had virtually come to a grinding halt. Prior to coronavirus, the island’s fragile tourist trade was enjoying consecutive quarters of growth. The year 2019 was remarkable for visitor arrivals and the month of December 2019 was record-breaking with 281,115 stopover arrivals to the island, representing an increase of 7.6 per cent over the previous December.
Suddenly there was an unwelcomed guest – coronavirus – and it continues to take a toll on the industry. The latest arrival figures for July 2020 point to an alarming but expected decline of 84.5 per cent over the corresponding period last year, with only 41,941 arrivals on the island, down from well over a quarter million last year. Jamaica is fighting back bravely, and in the aftermath of the lockdown, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in the Americas continues to promote the destination with back-breaking efforts despite new challenges for tourism every day.
There has been a steady resumption of air service into Kingston and Montego Bay from key markets – New York/Newark, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Houston and Toronto. United, Southwest, Caribbean Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, Spirit and American Airlines are all back at some level of operation.