More than half a billion dollars have been shaved from Jamaica’s expected tourism earnings this financial year due to the impact of the novel coronavirus.
The revised projections were shared by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett at the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 3.
Further, tourist arrivals are expected to take a hit as 340,000 fewer arrivals are anticipated than previously projected.
“Current global situations require for us to review some of our projected out-turns as well as our market strategy and, perhaps, to cautiously examine where and how we apply the budgetary arrangements…”– Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett
According to Bartlett, the industry’s gross earnings for the 2020/2021 fiscal year will be $3.39 billion and visitor arrivals, stopovers and cruise arrivals combined, to reach 4.26 million. Those figures are down from earlier estimates which put gross earnings at $4.25 billion, $560 million more than the new figure, and visitor arrivals at 4.6 million.
Estimated gross earnings in fiscal year 2020/21 are now projected at $3.69 billion, corresponding with visitor arrivals of 4.26 million, which includes stop over arrivals of 2.73 million and cruise arrivals of 1.53 million.
The previous 2020/21 projections were $4.25 billion in earnings, with arrivals estimated at 4.6 million, inclusive of stopover arrivals at 2.96 million, and cruise arrivals at 1.65 million.
“Current global situations require for us to review some of our projected out-turns as well as our market strategy and, perhaps, to cautiously examine where and how we apply the budgetary arrangements with regards to advertising and promotions for the fiscal [year],” Bartlett said at the to the committee currently examining the expenditure estimates for the coming fiscal year.
“The Budget, this year (2020/21), reflects overall the intention to enable growth. But you would appreciate that this new projection would achieve a flat rate of growth. So we would just be about 1.1 per cent, over last year.
“Our growth will be driven, however, by very judicious market arrangements focusing primarily on our three big markets that are the traditional North American markets and Western Europe… and South America, that we will be putting a new focus on,” said Bartlett.
There are more than 97,400 global cases of the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhuan, China, with the death toll at approximately 3,345.