Travel Advisors Drove Jamaica’s 2022 Travel Surge

Travel Advisors Drove Jamaica’s 2022 Travel Surge

US travel to Jamaica gained significant momentum following the outbreak and rose sharply throughout 2022. Now, visitor numbers to the island are poised to reach historic levels in 2023, senior government officials said last week.

Speaking to staff at Sangster International Airport, Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister, said the country had secured 1.3 million airstrips for the first quarter of 2023. Bartlett also anticipates a “full recovery” in the destination’s cruise business, whose post-breakout capacity (and arrivals) lagged behind land-based visitor gains.


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“This winter will be the best Jamaica has ever had,” Bartlett said. The Caribbean nation will host 950,000 land-based overnight guests and 524,000 cruise passengers in the first quarter of 2023, he forecast.

“That makes it pretty close to 1.5 million visitors for the [winter] Season, the biggest attendance we’ve ever had.” The expected surge “will take us into an end of 2023 that will be well ahead of 2019 so we’ll recover with growth,” Bartlett added.

Jamaica is poised to end 2022 after regaining 97 percent of 2019’s visitor numbers, said Donovan White, Jamaica’s director of tourism.

consulting activity

JTB officials credit US travel advisors with driving Jamaica’s visitor growth in 2022. Last week, the agency thanked its top 50 travel consultants (based on bookings in 2022) for their efforts at Jamaica One Love, a four-day gathering in Montego Bay.

The top 50 advisors produced 174,000 room nights between October and September this year, said Donnie Dawson, Jamaica’s deputy director of tourism. The total number of overnight stays is “about 58,000 to 60,000 people,” Dawson said.

JTB’s Jamaica Travel Specialist program sparked their production, he added, through classes that provide information about Jamaica’s natural, cultural and historical attractions.

Jamaica Travel Specialist Program, Travel Advisor
The Jamaica Travel Specialist program has certified 47,000 consultants. (Photo by Brian Major)

The program also provides sales training for the wedding, family and special interest markets and has accredited 47,000 consultants, Dawson said.

Jamaica travel specialists are now at the core of the advisors inspiring US vacationers to choose Jamaica for a warm-weather vacation, Dawson said. That year’s most prolific consultant, Lindsey Johnson of Tropics Travel Agency, sold 20,000 room nights, according to JTB officials.

For its part, JTB “has never wavered” in its support of agencies and will continue to expand FAM opportunities and educational programs to consultants, he added. “The retail travel agency is as strong as ever,” said Dawson.

Optimistic outlook

Complementing Jamaica’s strong relationship with advisors is a positive position on the Airlift.

“This winter, January through April, we have 923,000 airfields in the US,” Dawson said. “From Canada we have 285,000 seats.”

He said Jamaica achieved “a trifecta” this year for scheduled tri-state air travel, adding Frontier Airlines flights to Jamaica from Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport to existing flights from New York’s JFK International and Newark Liberty International Airport in New York Jersey added.

“We’re predicting a strong, strong winter season,” said Dawson.

Travel Advisor at Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica’s top 50 travel agents booked 147,000 room nights between October and September. (Photo by Brian Major)

Black travelers are fueling the surge in visitors

Jamaica’s 2022 attendance was buoyed by a sharp surge in African Americans, White said. “There’s been a tremendous uptick in African American travelers,” he said. “Jamaica, like the rest of the Caribbean, was the beneficiary.”

“They’re a lot more immersive, a lot more engaging [and] much more intuitive about what they do, where they go and what they eat,” White said. “They are very interested in discovery [local] communities.”

He continued, “These are exactly the type of travelers that our destination wants, not necessarily because they’re African American, but because there’s an awakening among these travelers to want more, and there’s so much more to Jamaica beyond the beach.” Has. ”

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