‘We are keen to open new routes between India and Jamaica’

Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica says efforts are on with travel and hospitality partners to develop special offers for Indian travellers to restart tourism

Jamaica recently lifted the ban on travellers from India. All a traveller needs to do is follow the protocols: a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in Jamaica; complete travel authorisation form and get an approval to the entry and follow all other protocols like wearing a mask, proper sanitation. “A resilient corridor has been established which has provided a very safe and seamless accommodation for the country,” says Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica. 

Excerpts from an interview: 

What, to Jamaica, is the importance of India as a source market and what are the plans to increase travel and tourism from India?   

Prior to the pandemic, Jamaica has a good promotional value in India. We expect it will take some time to regain the footfall. We are actively working with many major airlines for developing new routes to travel to Jamaica and make the travel from India even more seamless. Airlines that connect India and the US are all on our roadmap for this goal.  

How ready is the nation to welcome Indian tourists? Any special offers likely to be extended to the Indian traveller?   

We are very keen to open new routes between India and Jamaica, making the destination more accessible for Indian tourists. Meanwhile, we are working with travel and hospitality partners to develop special offers for Indian travellers to restart tourism.   

What hopes does Jamaica aims to achieve during the six-month long association with the Dubai Expo 2020?   

We hope to position Jamaica as the most desirable and safe post-pandemic destination for a vacation. The Dubai Expo 2020 is the first mega-event post-pandemic which is truly global in scope and is helping overcome international reluctance to travel. We hope to connect with people and decision-makers from all over the world here to put Jamaica top of mind as a destination of choice for travellers. Tourism is a livelihood for Jamaica and we are at the Expo hoping to forge partnerships and alliances that help us strengthen our claim as a safe and beautiful leisure destination for global tourists.   

Jamaica earned an estimated US$1.7 billion since it reopened its tourism sector in June last year. Can you kindly share how many visitors did the country welcome during this period and what is the forecast for the next one year?   

Jamaica built a resilient corridor that allows the visitors to be in a safe bubble. And have had an infection level of 0.05 per cent. The country got the benefit of over a million visitors for the year so far. These touristic values of Jamaica are within their safe corridor. It developed strong Covid management protocols which were fully recognised and appreciated by the World Travel and Tourism Council and was the third country in the world to have a safety award given by WTTC.  

What are Jamaica’s cultural exports to the world?   

The destination offers so much variety and culture. And we have an amlgamation for many countries, including India where our food, music and dance forms are concerned. Jamaica’s culture has beamed from a tiny small island, to the greatest stages of the world. Kingston, in the heart of the country, is a creative city renowned for its music and art. As the original home of reggae and dancehall and a spectacular representation of cultural diversity, Kingston represents importance in cultivating cultures. In fact, UNESCO named Kingston a Creative City of music in 2015. It is the birthplace of six distinct musical genres: mento, ska, reggae, rocksteady, dub and dancehall and the careers of music legends such as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, Kingston has had and continues to have great impact on the global music scene.   

Cruise tourism is a major part of tourism industry in Jamaica. What are the plans on its comeback?

Almost 20,000 players in the tourism industry had the opportunity to benefit from the recent return of cruises to Jamaica. The Carnival Sunrise, the first cruise ship to dock in Jamaica following a 17-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, arrived in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on August 16 with approximately 3,000 passengers and crew. We are actively working towards bringing back and further expand cruise tourism in Jamaica.  

The best time in Jamaica as a tourist.   

The best time to visit Jamaica is during the start of ‘winter’, November to mid-December, with temperatures averaging 80°F. Peak season begins mid-December and ends mid-April, which is a great time to vacation in Jamaica if you don’t mind the crowds. It’s a tropical paradise set in the beautiful Carribean and actually can be visited all around the year.  

Top 5 attractions in Jamaica.   

The Blue Mountains have recently designated a World Heritage Site by the UN, and offer visitors a unique view of the island from an elevated vantage point. With the Blue Mountain Peak rising high above the mist, you may be moved to take on the full hike to the peak (7,402 feet high), a challenging seven-mile trek.  

Jamaican coffee is as indigenous to the island as Red Stripe Beer and Appleton Rum.  

Rainforest Sky Explorer in Ocho Rios, at the family-friendly attraction, Mystic Mountain. This state-of-the-art chair lift carries visitors 700 feet above the treetops for unforgettable vistas. Zip backdown to Earth on one of the custom-designed bobsleds, or through the trees on the zip line.  

Jamaica’s underground caves and sinkholes offer an adventure of a different kind. The caves hold the historical and cultural heart of the island and Jamaicans still cherish and protect the cultural heritage of the country’s early people — crafts, food, music, art, and oral stories are kept alive here.

Jamaica is the land of wood and water. From cliff-diving beaches to hidden waterfalls, winding and roaring rivers, bottomless lagoons, and magical mineral-infused pools. There isa plethora of activities to do like rafting in the Martha Brae River, cliff jumping at Ricks Café, a cruise to the Luminous Lagoon, exploring the Dunn’s River Falls, water adventure activities, Horseback rides at the beaches, swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove, ATV Tours to the craggy hills and sandy shores of the island and much more.  

Must try foods when in Jamaica.  

From fusion food to haute cuisine, regional favourites, and some very unique special dishes, Jamaica is an exotic destination for every foodie. Jamaica is a feast for the taste buds and at every corner of this big little island you’ll find something to whet your appetite.

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