The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is predicting a bumper season for 2021, as bookings return faster than expected.
While the JTB expects one million fewer visitors to Jamaica this year, it is reporting that bookings for next year have already increased by one per cent from minus 55 per cent two weeks ago to 54 per cent down last week.
Speaking on a recent webinar ahead of UK flights restarting to Jamaica, JTB Regional Director Elizabeth Fox declared, “I think we are going to have a really good year next year,” as she related the good news about the tourism prospects for 2021. According to Fox, “We are looking forward to a good 2021. We are coming back faster than we thought.”
She made the point that this is encouraging news because it means that 50 per cent of bookings are coming back already. Pointing out that demand has been stronger than expected early on, Fox is looking forward to seeing how this trend holds, especially given the fact that Jamaica is in recovery mode.
Jamaica is on the UK Foreign Office’s list of “safe destinations” which means there is no 14-day quarantine on return to England. British Airways is set to resume two of its usual thrice-weekly flights to Kingston, Jamaica, as of July 20.
The JTB regional director stated that the airline seat capacity will be back to more or less normal in 2021 and will “fully recover” in 2022. Virgin Atlantic has indicated it will resume flights in early October, while TUI has pushed up its start date from September 30 to September 2.
Referring to the fact that airlines are returning to Jamaica, Fox disclosed that the marketing strategy now being rolled out is targeting the affluent 25- to-47-year-olds who are most likely to return first to the destination. Tourism marketing campaigns are initially aimed at the domestic travel market in Jamaica but will be rolled out to the UK “shortly”, possibly this autumn.
A UK travel agent sales blitz, originally planned pre-lockdown in Manchester, Birmingham and London, has been postponed until March 2022. However, virtual sales calls with the trade will continue as well as more virtual familiarisation trips being planned.