Jamaica expects tourism boost after hurricanes batter rest of Caribbean

DOHA (Reuters) – Jamaica expects an increase in the number of tourists to the country as travelers rebook holidays to avoid other destinations in the Caribbean that were hit by hurricanes, the country’s tourism minister said on Wednesday.

Jamaica was largely left untouched by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which swept through the Caribbean this month, killing dozens and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said the increase in visitors by travelers who changed their holidays to Jamaica would be around 1 to 2 percent this year, and the island expects to get $150 million to $200 million in additional tourism revenue.

“The experience is that people who have committed already to the Caribbean, who have made bookings for the Caribbean, are going to go to the Caribbean, and so the issue is where in the Caribbean are they going to go,” Edmund told Reuters at a World Tourism Day event in Doha.

The number of overseas visitors to Jamaica this year could now increase by around 10 percent, which he said would be more than the original forecast of 8.5 percent.

He said the trend of travelers rebooking their holidays within the region was likely to continue into 2018.

Editing by Larry King