Sangster hopeful US advisory won’t cripple arrivals
Despite the United States issuing a Level 3 travel advisory warning its citizens to reconsider travel to Jamaica as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the operators of Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay remain hopeful that holiday makers will still flock to the island.
“ ... We are concerned about the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) ranking,” said Shane Munroe, the CEO of MBJ Airports Limited.
Jamaica gets the bulk of its annual tourist arrivals from the US, Europe, and Canada.
Munroe said the island’s removal from a list of countries, territories, and regions to which persons could travel and may not have to self-isolate could potentially affect arrival numbers.
Things were looking good for MBJ until March when the borders were closed due to the pandemic.
“From January to March, we had much higher passenger numbers, but ... since that time, we have had just over 300,000 passengers through Montego Bay. That is from April to October, which is significantly less than last year,” Munroe said.
Since the reopening of the nation’s borders in June, arrival figures have been steadily improving, albeit not on the scale of 2019, a period in which Jamaica saw roughly 4.3 million visitors contributing US$3.64 billion to the local economy.
“We expect that the CDC announcement will have a short-term impact ... . However, for this winter season, we are preparing as we normally do,” said Munroe.