KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 16, 2020 - Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, says airlift commitments continue to increase, and the 2020/21 Winter Season is looking positive.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Minister pointed out that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is maintaining strong engagement with tour operators and airline companies to drive bookings for the winter.
“In a strong show of confidence in Destination Jamaica, our airline partners have committed 1.1 million seats for the upcoming winter tourist season as we seek to regain our strong footing in the marketplace,” Mr. Bartlett said.
“Of that number, some 450,000 are out of the United States, our largest source market. While these seat numbers are 40 per cent less than the last winter season, we are significantly up from where it was in the fall,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett also informed that the sector is seeing positive activity out of other important markets too.
The Minister noted that last weekend, British Airways (BA) resumed fights between London Gatwick and Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay, after an 11-year hiatus.
The twice-weekly BA flight will operate for the winter season until April 17, 2021, with a capacity of 31 business class, 52 premium economy and 250 economy seats.
In addition, Copa Airlines resumed weekly service to Jamaica on December 7 with a flight from Tocumen Airport in Panama City, Panama, to Sangster International Airport.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Tourism is in discussions with international airlines regarding the implementation of the Jamaica Cares insurance programme which is set to come on stream in the first quarter of 2021.
“Jamaica Cares… will position Jamaica as one of the most COVID-resilient countries in the world when it is launched. It is a groundbreaking travel protection and emergency services programme that provides visitors with the cost of medical care, evacuations, field rescue, case management and patient advocacy in all circumstances up to and including natural disasters,” Mr. Bartlett explained.
As it relates to COVID-19, the protection plan also covers testing for symptomatic travellers, quarantine/isolation in a medical facility or sanctioned quarantine facilities and evacuation, if necessary.
“This new framework will considerably lessen the burden on the local health system and ensure that Jamaicans are not deprived of well-needed health resources,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out.