Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, JA – The estimated gross earnings from tourism for the fiscal year 2021/2022 are projected at US$1.87 billion, with corresponding visitor arrivals of 1.6 million, according to Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett.

He was addressing Wednesday’s sitting of the Standing Finance Committee, which is reviewing the 2021/22 Estimates of Expenditure.

“Visitor arrivals are projected as follows: stopover, 1.043 million, representing a 117 percent increase, and cruise shipping at 570,000, which would be a 100 per cent increase over the previous period,” Bartlett said.

“Those statistics are reflective of what the position will be. They are very flattering, and we recognise that the industry literally came to a halt (due to COVID-19),” he noted.

Bartlett, in outlining the priority areas for the new fiscal year, said that focus will be placed on destination assurance.

“We have been crafting the landmark Jamaica Cares programme, which will be a huge marketing tool for us, but also an assurance that when visitors come here they will be in a tourism bubble, which is commonly referred to as the Resilient Corridor,” he said.

In addition, he said that new destinations will be created.

“St Thomas is the new frontier. We have done the planning already, the design has been done and we are going to roll that out in this fiscal year. Then there is the south coast development plan, which is a programme to be implemented; we have not completed that as yet. We started with Negril and we are going to continue on the south coast,” he added.

Pointing out that the marketing efforts will be targeted at the United States and United Kingdom, Bartlett said, “I think that the vaccination programme globally will inform how much we accelerate our marketing efforts in these source countries, but the reports that we have so far are indicating that the US is very aggressive in its vaccination programme. We should have, based on today’s report, up to 60 percent coverage of the United States market by the end of May, which is very significant for us.”

He said that the UK “has had over 50 percent already, and that is good. So we think that our proximity to the US, the integrity of our promise as a destination and the knowledge of Jamaica as a really strong destination, with the quality products that we have, will put us in a good position to benefit from this development from our source markets”.