JAMAICA has set its sights on regaining its share of the South American visitor market. With the region now almost fully recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has declared that the time is right to regain pre-pandemic market share.
Bartlett, who was recently in Quito, Ecuador, for the 68th World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for the Americas Meeting (CAM) — where Jamaica was elected to the UNWTO Executive Council for 2023-2027 alongside Colombia — is confident of Jamaica regaining lost ground in South America.
“We think that South America is ready for Jamaica again. The response I got while I was there meeting with the ministers from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru all indicate that their economies are again able to provide the flow into the region that we had prior to COVID,” said Bartlett.
Recovery in South America is now reported at just under 70 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels and for Bartlett, “Success in restoring this market, coupled with the full recovery of the American and British markets, will guarantee us meeting our targets of just about three million visitors from stopover arrivals in 2023, and projected earnings [of] US$4.2 billion.”
Prior to the pandemic Jamaica had some 11 flights per week between Panama and Jamaica via Copa Airlines, which offers connections throughout Central and South America, and new services by LATAM Airlines with three weekly flights between Lima (Peru) and Montego Bay, offering convenient connections with cities in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.
The stage is now being set for a major market blitz covering Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru between July 28 and August 4, 2023, led by Bartlett in coordination with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
“Development of the thrust for gaining market share for Central and South America will begin in earnest,” said Bartlett as he recalled the good relationship that had been built up prior to the pandemic.
“But now we are restoring that relationship, commencing with preliminary discussions taking place with Fidel Murgueytio, general manager of Ecuador’s largest tour operator for sending traffic to the Caribbean, Maxitravel,” added Bartlett.
Talks on the renewed initiative have also been had with minister of tourism for Ecuador, Niels Olsen on areas for cooperation in tourism that will redound to the benefit of both countries.
Ecuador is strong on ecotourism and altitude tourism, and Bartlett outlined that in a collaborative programme Jamaica will be assisted in both areas, “and we will reciprocate in terms of resilience and sustainability, the building out of human capital programmes, as well as product development in relation to destination assurance and marketing”.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is also looking to expand its satellite network in South America, with Olsen expressing keen interest in seeing this through to reality. Details of a memorandum of understanding are to be worked out, with a view to having it signed in short order.
Source : Jamaica Observer