Nearshore Americas

Jamaica Shelving LatAm Visa Requirements to Bolster Tourism Industry

Jamaica‘s government is shelving visa processing requirements for some Latin American countries in an effort to increase tourism revenue and generate jobs.
The island’s Minister for Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, announced in a press release that Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru would soon be exempt from visa requirements. The minister added that Poland and a few other European countries would also be exempted.
The announcement comes barely weeks after the Jamaican government unveiled a five-year tourism strategy designed to increase the tourist arrivals to five million a year.
Jamaica’s tourism industry is indeed growing but its revenue still accounts for 5% of the country’s GDP and 10% of national employment. The five-year strategy is aimed at generating 125,000 direct jobs and $5 billion in annual revenue.
“Of the millions of Latin Americans that took overseas trips in 2014, we find that we should be getting a bigger piece of the pie. In terms of our geographical location and the nature of our tourism product, we should be able to effectively compete in this market,” he added.
The Dominican Republic and Cuba are the most popular travel destinations for Latin Americans. Therefore, Jamaica is also planning to team up with these countries to share visitors and launch marketing campaigns together.
In 2014, over 24,000 Brazilians went to Aruba and 9,300 to the Bahamas, while only 2,925 visited Jamaica, according to the minister.
“More than 23,000 Colombians visited Aruba versus just 4,100 who came to Jamaica, while 12,000 Argentinians went to Aruba, compared to just over 4,000 that came to Jamaica. The point is that we can do better out of Latin America and we must do better,” he said.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

Add comment