Jamaica Leading World in Demand, Capacity, GDS Bookings

Per the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association’s (JHTA) most recent survey, conducted November 6-7, hotels on the island are now averaging 65 percent occupancy rates for this winter season. Additionally, Donovan White, director of tourism, shared some promising insight during a “Destination Update” in lieu of JAPEX (Jamaica Product Exchange) being rescheduled from November 8-10, 2021, to early 2022.

According to Amadeus, per White, Jamaica currently leads the world in

  • Demand (searches for the destination) at 38 percent of 2019 levels, compared to the rest of the world at 24 percent
  • Capacity (air seats flown or committed/scheduled) at 65 percent of 2019 levels, compared to the rest of the world at 44 percent
  • International air passengers at 45 percent of 2019 levels, compared to the rest of the world at 31 percent
  • GDS bookings at 61 percent of 2019 levels, compared to the rest of the world at 28 percent

In addition, data from Jamaica’s top five air and tour operator partners in the U.S., Canada and U.K. indicates a strong room night booking pace: November 2021 is at 95 percent of November 2019 levels and December 2021 is at 97 percent of November 2019 levels. Looking back, over the course of 2021, January-to-October air stopover arrivals are estimated to be up 41 percent year-over-year, or 48 percent of 2019 levels.

On the air service front, Frontier Airlines has new service from Miami, Atlanta and Orlando to Montego Bay. American Airlines has new service from Philadelphia to Kingston and it’s upgauging aircraft to a 787 Dreamliner on flights to Montego Bay from key gateways, including Miami, New York-JFK, Philadelphia, Chicago O’Hare, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Charlotte.

Beyond the increasing visitor numbers, White shared that visitors to Jamaica in 2021 are also staying longer and spending more. For the first time, he said, earnings are outpacing arrivals. To that end, the average length of stay has increased from 7.1 days to eight days and the average per person per day spend has increased from $169 to $180. Projections for the full year now stand at approximately 1.5 million visitors with spend of $1.9 billion.

Good to know: Ninety percent of pre-pandemic investment projects remain in place, with more than a dozen hotel projects on track to bring approximately 5,000 additional rooms to Jamaica over the next two years. Projections indicate a return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels by 3Q 2023, at which point, Jamaica will be welcoming approximately 4.1 million visitors, spending $4.2 Billion (up $500 million over 2019).

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