Hotels report busy weekends as J’cans warm to discounts

Hotels report busy weekends as J’cans warm to discounts

Observer writer

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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THE island’s tourism lobby group is reporting that hotels are seeing impressive bookings from Jamaicans who have taken up discount offers as the sector recovers from near three months of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak here.

“All the way from Negril to St Ann, where the larger all-inclusives are, the hotels have reported that the weekend are busy,” Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association President Omar Robinson told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

“What we are seeing is that in the middle of the week the hotels are showing low occupancies, but come the weekend we’re seeing Jamaicans taking up the really exciting and attractive rates that have been put out there, rates as low as US$70/US$80 per person all-inclusive,” Robinson said.

Average occupancy, he said, has been anywhere from 20 per cent to 30 per cent during the week, and over the weekend, particularly during the Independence holiday, as high as 90 per cent.

Jamaica’s tourism sector shut down in March when the Government ordered the closure of the country’s borders to incoming passenger traffic after the island recorded its first case of the virus.

The sector, which provides jobs for approximately 350,000 people and was losing approximately US$15 million daily, reopened on June 15 with the admission of incoming passenger flights and has been seeing a trickling of tourists.

As part of efforts to keep the tourism industry afloat, hotels offered discounts to Jamaicans, encouraging them to vacation in the island under a programme designed by the Jamaica Tourist Board labelled ‘Rediscover Jamaica’.

At the launch of the programme on July 22, Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett urged Jamaicans to take full advantage of the deals being provided under the campaign.

“The timing is right for the Rediscover Jamaica Campaign. Summer is traditionally a time when we take day trips to long-time favourites or to those undiscovered places. Our upcoming August holidays provide the perfect reason to enjoy our accommodations, attractions, shopping and transportation,” a Jamaica Information Service release quoted Bartlett.

He reminded vacationers to adhere to the safety protocols that have been established by the Government and the tourism sector to protect themselves and families against COVID-19.

On Monday, Robinson said he had checked with some of the hotels and they were upbeat about the programme.

He also confirmed that the hotels were abiding by the COVID-19 safety protocols.

“We have a few more weeks before school starts and we’re hoping that the Jamaicans will continue to come out, but the feedback so far has been really, really positive,” Robinson said.

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