The 'heartbeat of the world' excites and enthrals overseas visitors of all ages
Known as the 'land of wood and water: Jamaica's rich tourism offerings include an array of white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, tropical greenery and very hospitable people. The island's colourful history and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for travellers seeking unforgettable adventures.
Such is Jamaica's robust appeal, visitor numbers to the island have rebounded strongly since the government introduced a series of Covid-19 safety and testing protocols that set the benchmark for other tourism-dependent nations to target. The results have certainly been remarkable, with more than 1.5 million people visiting Jamaica in 2021, a significant total that generated an impressive $2 billion in revenue.
While many visitors opt to spend time relaxing by the sea or pools, for the more adventurous, Jamaica's beautiful landscapes provide the platform for thrill-seekers to enjoy a variety of adrenaline boosting experiences, from river rafting down the Rio Grande, to hiking in the Blue Mountains, to zip lining through lush tree canopy.
"Tourism is the lifeblood of Jamaica's economy as the sector comprises a crucial part of our national development and economic strategy;' states Donovan White, director of tourism at the award-winning Jamaica Tourist Board.
"Jamaica offers very unique and top-of-the-line travel experiences, with world-renowned resorts as well as diverse attractions, riveting music and a cuisine that caters to international travellers from across the globe. Jamaica's menu of options provides unmatched holiday offerings that cater to discerning travellers from the Gulf and other Arab and Middle Eastern countries;' he continues.
"We bring to the table a good product line for families as well as adventure seekers and people who have interests in areas such as mu sic, food, culture or our natural assets like beaches, flora and fauna. We are ready to welcome our guests from the Middle East and hope this will create a unique cultural exchange between Jamaica and the regions:'
During a visit to the Gulf in 2021, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett held high-level talks with key players in the cruise and aviation sectors. The dynamic politician participated in critical discussions with executives of maritime services provider DP World, as well as senior officials from leading airline Emirates regarding the potential creation of the inaugural Dubai to Kingston route.
"The UAE represents the next critical partner in Jamaica's tourism matrix and we thought that it was time that Gulf airlines started flying into the Caribbean region - that is a major objective for us;' says Bartlett.
"Jamaica would be positioned as the region's hub, so arrivals could come into our Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and then could be transferred to oth er destinations in the Caribbean, South America and even North America:'
Bartlett is also eager to explore a wider range of mutually beneficial financial and investment partnerships as Jamaica looks to construct a string of 'mega investments and mega partnerships' to build much of the infrastructure required to boost the country's tourist industry and national economic performance.
"The capital markets in our region are limited in terms of their ability to drive that type of investment:' he explains. "Engaging with Gulf partners would enable us to have that sort of capital injection into the region. This could be a great gamechanger:'
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