KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday June 27, 2016 – The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) is significant to Jamaica’s tourism industry, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says, but there’s no need to panic as every effort will be made to secure the UK market.
Last Thursday, in a referendum on Britain’s exit (Brexit) from the EU, the United Kingdom voted to leave the 28-member bloc.
Bartlett told the media over the weekend that the decision “is of significance to us in tourism for a number of reasons, perhaps, foremost of which is the fact that, based on the economic and political implications, it will have an impact on the travel and tourism community across the region.”
He noted that the Caribbean was most dependent on British visitors on this side of the globe and “it is important for us to consider what implications that will have on the flow of visitors into our destinations.”
“For us in Jamaica, the British market is our third largest and is a growing market and with it comes also important connectivity from other areas of Europe, so that whatever is happening in that economy, in that political space, is of tremendous interest and importance to us,” Bartlett noted.
He gave the assurance that proactive steps were being taken to secure the UK market, but said it was recognized that the immediate short-term impact was the devaluation of the British pound in the wake of the Brexit vote.
This, the minister noetd, had implications for British travellers and their ability to afford visits to the Caribbean and Jamaica, “especially against the background that our prices are predicated on the US dollar.”
On a positive note, he suggested that the immediate impact on arrivals for Jamaica “may not be severe at all.”
“Our immediate market arrangements are covered by a series of packaging which have taken place already; payment for which have either been in the system already or are about to be made,” he explained.
However, Minister Bartlett said Jamaica had to look beyond the next winter season.
“As a result I will be leading a team to the UK in September for the Jamaica Travel Market and thereafter to do a roadshow in the British Isle,” he said, stressing that this is important to shore up partnerships in the area and bolster the country’s market position in relation to the type of products, pricing and general arrangements that will be made “to ensure the competitiveness of destination Jamaica.”
“We are always proactive and, interestingly, our programme for the UK in fact predates the results of the UK’s referendum. So we will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as required,” the tourism minister added.