Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is anticipating that the tourism industry could begin to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in another five months.
“I think at about September, we will begin to see the turnaround and I think borders will begin to open and airlines will begin to make initial forays. This is not to say that they’ll be flying everywhere or flying in Jamaica,” he said, while addressing a digital press briefing on Thursday (April 9).
The Minister noted, however, that the timeline for recovery largely depends on how quickly some of the source markets pull out of this crisis.
“Tourism has to be the first out of the block. We recognise that the changes that COVID-19 has brought is requiring us to rethink…”– Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett
“The United States (US) is our main market. More than 75 per cent of all the visitors who come to Jamaica – cruise and stop over – (come) from the US and Canada and it’s important that we watch carefully how they are handling and responding to recovery,” he said.
Bartlett pointed out that the Ministry is already putting plans in place to ensure Jamaica’s tourism sector “is ahead of the game,” open for businesses and getting business once the source markets start to turn around.
The Minister said tourism is one of the sectors expected to bounce back quickly post COVID-19, with the required flexibility to adjust to this new era.
“Tourism has to be the first out of the block. We recognise that the changes that COVID-19 has brought is requiring us to rethink, to retool and to be very agile and adaptive as well as adaptable to the various changes that it is going to bring,” Bartlett said.
The Minister noted that ideally, December/January 2021 “is where I am looking we begin to get back to normal and then we move on to growth.”