Caribbean tourism leaders reflect on World Tourism Day
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — It’s official; tourism jobs in Jamaica, and throughout the Caribbean on the whole, are on a steady rebound after the unprecedented disaster that was the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic first struck this region in early 2020, nearly putting an end to the lucrative tourism industry that had been the bread and butter of countless countries in the region for decades.
Two years later, as the Caribbean and other popular tourist destinations around the globe celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27, Jamaican officials took a moment to reflect on the hardships and resilience of the past few years.
Additionally, they highlighted the strong comeback currently taking place.
Nadine Spence, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Montego Bay Chapter chairperson, said the industry has much to be grateful for.
“We give thanks that, through careful management by the health authorities, in collaboration with representatives of various sectors — including hospitality and tourism, academia and business — Jamaica is on the rebound,” she said.
“The planes are coming again.
“Our hotels are open and ready to receive our guests.
“Our attractions, restaurants, craft vendors, taxi drivers, farmers and manufacturers are back on the job earning an honest living.”
Tourism jobs still significant
In the thick of the pandemic, as tourism seemed all but dead in the water, “economic diversification” became the buzzword of the day. However, it was never expected that tourism would go away for good.
When borders began reopening in most countries, the Caribbean saw tourism numbers pick up at breakneck speed.
For countries like the Cayman Islands, which was among the last to dial down pandemic-related restrictions, it represents an opportunity to restart the healthy competition for the tourist dollar.
On the occasion of World Tourism Day, Caymanian Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan remarked, “Over the past two and a half years, the important role tourism plays in our overall society has been made abundantly clear.
“Whether or not persons are employed within the travel industry or in tourism-related jobs, we have all gained a renewed understanding of the significance of the tourism industry in one way or another.
“We are continuously looking for ways to ensure our islands remain one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in the world.
By working closely with our tourism partners we are on our way to developing a renewed and revitalized Cayman Islands tourism industry.”