Jamaica’s Tourism Ministry revises projections due to coronavirus threats

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says industry projections for Fiscal Year 2020/21 have been revised in light of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, says bookings and arrivals might be affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Current global situations require for us to review some of our projected out-turns as well as our market strategy and, perhaps, to cautiously examine where and how we apply the budgetary arrangements with regards to advertising and promotions for the fiscal [year],” he said.

“This new projection would achieve a flat rate of growth.”

— Bartlett

Bartlett was addressing Tuesday’s meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, which is examining the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure.

Possible impact on bookings

He informed that the tourism industry’s estimated gross earnings in fiscal year 2020/21 are now projected at $3.69 billion, corresponding with visitor arrivals of 4.26 million, which includes stopover arrivals of 2.73 million and cruise arrivals of 1.53 million.

The previous 2020/21 projections were $4.25 billion in earnings, with arrivals estimated at 4.6 million, inclusive of stopover arrivals at 2.96 million, and cruise arrivals at 1.65 million.

Bartlett noted that while the industry has grown 5.2 per cent, to date, for the 2019/20 fiscal year, which is consistent with overall projections, the Government is conscious of the possible impact on bookings, as well as aviation activities and the country’s capacities if COVID-19 escalates.

“The budget, this year (2020/21), reflects overall the intention to enable growth. But you would appreciate that this new projection would achieve a flat rate of growth. So we would just be about 1.1 per cent, over last year.