Jamaica’s Visitor Arrivals and Spend Beat Projections

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – Maintaining its position as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations, Jamaica reports that it welcomed a total of more than 1.5 million visitor arrivals to its shores in 2021. These visitors’ on-island spend totalled over USD $2.095 billion into the country’s economy, positively impacting local businesses and tourism stakeholders.

Visitor arrivals and spend for full year 2021 had originally been projected to be approximately 1.5 million and USD $1.9 billion, respectively. Of the total 1,535,165 visitor arrivals recorded, 1,464,399 were air stopover arrivals. The U.S. was both the largest and best-performing market, accounting for 1,278,679 air stopover arrivals in 2021. Overall, visitors have been staying longer in 2021, with the average length of stay increasing to 9.1 nights in 2021 as compared to 7.9 nights in 2019.

“The fact that we exceeded visitor arrivals and spend projections for 2021 is a clear testament to the strength and resilience of Jamaica’s tourism product as well as the excellent relationships we enjoy with our travel industry partners,” said the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica. “As we are gradually relaxing travel restrictions, we fully expect a stronger recovery as consumers from our key source markets are resuming international travel in steadily growing numbers.”

For the month of December 2021 alone, air stopover arrivals reached 223,333 or 79.4% of December 2019 levels. Tourism and infrastructure developments across the island continue to move forward and the destination retains a positive outlook for the tourism sector in 2022, the year of Jamaica’s 60th Anniversary of Independence. For 2022, Jamaica is projecting approximately 2.45 to 2.5 million visitor arrivals with a total visitor spend of about USD $2.9 billion.

This past weekend, March 3-6, 2022, Jamaica welcomed approximately 27,000 visitors to island including some 8,700 visitors on Saturday alone, the highest number for any one given day since the reopening of its borders in June 2020. Current bookings indicate a very strong month for March 2022, with projections for it to be on par with March 2019.

Jamaica continues to welcome visitors safely through its highly acclaimed Jamaica CARES program, which prioritizes health and safety of every Jamaican and every visitor to the country. The program was among the first to receive the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels recognition and allowed the island to safely reopen.

For more information on Jamaica, please go to www.visitjamaica.com.

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog, Destination News

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Airbnb and Belize Tourism Board Sign MOU to Drive Sustainable Tourism Through Home Sharing

Belize City, Belize – Airbnb and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) have signed a MOU initiating a mutual collaboration between both organizations to drive sustainable tourism in Belize through home sharing.

The agreement aims to promote Belize as a world-class tourism destination, highlighting cultural festivals, local tourism experiences and other unique events. Additionally, the MOU refers to the mutual cooperation aiming to share best practices globally for a modern and simple regulatory framework for short-term rentals in order to grow and diversify the country’s tourism product in keeping with global demand.

“The Belize Tourism Board is excited about this new cooperation agreement with Airbnb, and in working together to develop an equitable and sustainable business environment for this important segment of the tourism offer in Belize. With new engaging features on its platform, Airbnb is not only about room stock generation, it is also moving towards the creation of authentic destination experiences, an area where Belize thrives and seeks to engage,” said Mr. Evan Tillett, Director of Tourism at the Belize Tourism Board.

The home sharing community in Belize is a growing component of the local tourism industry and an important asset to the country’s wealth. Within this sector, the unrivaled global community of hosts and guests on Airbnb has created a whole new way to travel and experience a destination.

“Belize is an important destination for Airbnb, and we are pleased to continue working together with the BTB to develop a strong, democratized tourism industry through home-sharing, in which Belizeans can benefit directly,” stated Carlos Munoz, Airbnb Campaign Manager, Public Policy and Communications for the Caribbean and Central America.

Through its strong partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), of which Belize is a Government Member, Airbnb is steadily working to drive tourism to the region and expand economic opportunity by promoting safe, authentic travel throughout the Caribbean.  Belize was recently featured in one such initiative, Discover the Caribbean, which sought to promote tourism to destinations as they safely re-opened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the tourism industry in Belize grows, the Belize Tourism Board and Airbnb, aim to encourage environmental sustainability while empowering local people and their communities to be the primary beneficiaries of this economic growth.

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What’s New In The Bahamas In April

NASSAU, Bahamas — Spring break season is underway, and travellers seeking warmer days need look no further than The Islands of The Bahamas. With exciting resort offerings, tourism investments and new businesses opening their doors, the islands are brimming with vacation opportunities that appeal to everyone, from large families and friends to newlyweds.

NEWS

Angel Fish Creek Bridge Opens in Abaco — The communities of Great Abaco and Little Abaco are reunited following the completion of the restored and renamed Angel Fish Creek Bridge, the longest single-span bridge ever built in The Bahamas, which was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

The Bahamas Distillery Company Begins Production in Freeport — Spirits are high in Grand Bahama Island, courtesy of the newly established Bahamas Distilling Company, located in Freeport, that has started production on two offerings, Floating Pig Spiced Rum and Hammered Coconut Rum.

Iggy Azalea Headlines at Resorts World Bimini — Resorts World Bimini welcomes fans for a weekend-long party, from 15 – 17 April, to see GRAMMY® nominated rapper Iggy Azalea perform live. Packages begin at $598 per person, including round-trip transportation from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a two-night stay at the resort and a complimentary concert admission.

Carnival Cruise Line Marks 50 Years Visiting The Bahamas — Carnival Cruise Line celebrated 50 years of visiting The Bahamas on 10 March 2022. To honour the long-standing partnership, festivities at Pompey Square, Nassau, featured remarks from the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation and live performances by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band.

The Bahamas Revered as a Top Travel Destination — The Islands of The Bahamas lands global recognition as a “Best Family Spring Break Destination” by U.S. News & World Report for its relaxing atmosphere and thriving ecosystem. The Bahamas has also been nominated for several World Travel Awards, from “Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination” to “Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination.” Online voting for the World Travel Awards closes 3 May.

PROMOTIONS AND OFFERS

For a complete listing of deals and packages for The Bahamas, visit www.bahamas.com/deals-packages.

Stay a Little Longer at Baha Mar — Resort guests at Baha Mar receive the fourth night free when booking a stay at either Grand Hyatt or SLS, or the fifth night free at Rosewood, plus a $100 resort credit, unlimited access to Baha Bay Water Park and a complimentary “Return Home” Rapid Antigen Test.

Travel Worry-Free with Viva Wyndham Resorts — Guests now enjoy enhanced travel benefits when booking a stay at Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, including flexible travel solutions, superior safety protocols and onsite COVID-19 testing.

$150 Fee Credit for Out Island Vacationers — Private pilots receive a $150 fee credit for a pre-booked two-night hotel stay at any participating Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board member hotel before 30 June 2022, to be used for travel until 31 October 2022.

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Community-Based Tourism is an opportunity for MSMEs to become beneficiaries and guardians of well-developed strategies say UNDP and CTO

Bridgetown April 1st, 2022 — As part of its goal to support the recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the United Nations Development Programme UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has recently formalized a partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which will assist in enhancing the knowledge of tourism-based MSMEs in the areas of Community-based Tourism (CBT).

This support is multi-pronged in approach and aims to help MSMEs by converting the CBT Enterprise Handbook, jointly developed by the CTO and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF), into a self-paced and user-friendly online course. Through this capacity-building initiative, which will be led by the CTO, tourism stakeholders will be provided with access to convenient, up to date and innovative training to support their CBT development efforts, improve their business skills and productivity. The Online Course will be hosted via the recently launched Caribbean Tourism Institute and include animated lectures, activity work sheets, case studies, videos and knowledge-test assessments that will form part of a user-focussed interactive e-learning package.

“In order to create a more sustainable and inclusive tourism industry, there must be capacity building for both public and private stakeholders within the industry,” Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean noted. “Community-based tourism provides the opportunity for tourists to have authentic experiences while ensuring that MSMEs are also beneficiaries and guardians of well-developed tourism strategies, which embraces the unique cultural heritage of the region. To realise this vision, collaboration with stakeholders such as the CTO, the lead regional organisation on tourism, is critical, if we want to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs throughout the region.”  She added, highlighting the need for greater collaboration with regional tourism stakeholders, as a conduit for regional transformation in the tourism sector.

The collaboration is being delivered in the frame of the UNDP Future Tourism Project, which aims to create socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable value chains. The Future-Tourism project was developed out of a need to adapt to the new post-COVID-19 environment and to build resilience within the economic sectors of the region. This collaboration with the CTO is one of many collaborative efforts, which seek to improve the long-term socioeconomic and cultural interests of the region.

CTO’s Acting Secretary General, Mr. Neil Walters, speaking on the collaboration, expressed his appreciation to the UNDP for the support and technical assistance to the CTO and by extension, the regional tourism sector. He added, “the CTO has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy. This is further justified by the shift in tourism demand enabling the evolution of niche markets and specially curated tourism products in the areas of rural and indigenous tourism, heritage and wellness tourism. As we herald a new era of Caribbean tourism, industry resilience and recovery should incorporate the introduction of innovative ideas for product diversification and enhancement, and capacity-building for various stakeholders including MSMEs to navigate the new normal and generate more direct benefits from tourism”.

The Online Course will facilitate delivery of training to the widest possible regional audience, and is expected to enhance CBT know-how, improve quality standards in the region, and contribute to the success and viability of MSMEs in host communities. Participants will obtain a Certificate for successful completion of the course, which will add value to regional populations that have scarce opportunities for professional development.

The UNDP Future Tourism project aims to assist governments with identifying and implementing tourism revitalisation strategies, as well as enhancing the resilience of MSMEs to external shocks while advancing their recovery and supporting digital transformation. With UNDP’s partnership with the CTO, phase 2 which aims to provide technical support for MSME retooling and access to markets within the tourism value chain, MSMEs will benefit from the additional support of the self-paced course which will provide an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills.

As part of its commitment to promote economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the “Blue Economy for Green Islands” vision, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean aims to continue to leverage partnerships with key stakeholders in the region. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and the creation of resilient communities which can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes.

About the United Nations Development Programme, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.bb.undp.org or follow at @UNDPBarbados

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Montserrat Reopens: COVID-19 Restrictions Relaxes

Friday April 1 2022, Brades, Montserrat – On Thursday March 31, 2022– The Government of Montserrat made some significant relaxation adjustments to the COVID-19 suppression regulations since the implementation of these measures in 2020.

Persons travelling to Montserrat are no longer required to fill out an online declaration form for permission to enter.  The pre-travel online declaration form is only required to be completed and submitted by non-resident technicians who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

The new regulations maintain the requirements for persons entering Montserrat to present a negative COVID-19 test result.  The negative test result document must include the full name, address, and date of birth of the person tested; the date the test was conducted and the date the sample was taken.

The pre-entry requirements are as follows:

(1) A person who intends to enter Montserrat shall take a COVID-19 test no earlier than three days prior to entry into Montserrat.

(2)  The following persons are exempted from this requirement:

(a)  a child under five years of age;

(b)  a person entering Montserrat in circumstances related to a medical evacuation; and

(c)  a person who has been granted permission by the Minister to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster,

The borders are also open to passengers arriving by sea, this includes yachts and cruise ship visits; only vaccinated persons arriving on yachts and cruise ships would be allowed on island. The owner of a vessel or aircraft must ensure that persons travelling are in possession of a copy of a negative PCR COVID-19 or RNA COVID-19 test, if not, the owner will be committing an offence.  Yachters and Cruise Operators must alert the Montserrat Port Authority ahead of their visit to the island via email [email protected]  and/or VHF Channel 16. Advanced clearance can be made on the regional pre-arrival notification system at www.sailclear.com.

Persons arriving on Montserrat are required to answer all questions asked by the Medical or Health Officer, and may be required to undertake health checks and screenings.  Individuals who are fully vaccinated must provide the Medical or Health officer with proof of their vaccination status. If this evidence is not provided, then the individual will be regarded and treated as being not fully vaccinated.

Fully Vaccinated Persons – Entry into Montserrat

A fully vaccinated person is required to be tested for COVID-19 on entry into Montserrat.  A traveler is considered fully vaccinated, 14 days after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after the traveler has received a single dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson’s). If the Covid-19 test result indicates that the person is not infected with COVID-19, then the individual is not required to self-quarantine or isolate. However, if the test result is indeterminate (unknown/inconclusive) then the fully vaccinated person must go directly to their place of occupancy, designated quarantine facility or place of isolation and shall remain there to await the results of further COVID-19 tests.

If further testing reveals that the fully vaccinated person is infected, then he or she is required to self-quarantine or isolate until:

 (a)  he/she is not infected with COVID-19; or

(b)  he/she leaves Montserrat.

The regulations for a fully-vaccinated person will also apply to a fully-vaccinated non-resident technician.

All vaccines which have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are accepted for entry into Montserrat. 

Persons not fully vaccinated – entry into Montserrat

Individuals who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated upon arrival after undergoing the necessary COVID-19 screenings, are required to go directly to his/her home or place of occupancy, designated quarantine facility, or place of isolation and self-quarantine for 10 days.

Between eight and ten days after entering Montserrat, the individual will be tested for COVID-19 to determine if he/she is negative and can therefore be released from quarantine on day ten (10).

All persons entering Montserrat are required to pay the requisite fees for the COVID-19 test(s), where applicable (test on arrival for vaccinated – US$56; test for release from quarantine – US$56).   Additionally, Rapid Antigen tests have been added to the list of COVID-19 tests accepted for entry into Montserrat; the other two are RNA and PCR. However, antibody tests are not accepted.

Once on Montserrat it is mandatory for face coverings to be worn in public places where business is being conducted (Government and Private Business establishments). 

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