Now that the world has started to move on from Covid, and more countries have reopened following two years of harsh rules, the first tourism statistics are in with some surprising results. The trendiest destination for 2022 is not Cancun, and definitely not former tourism leader Paris: Montego Bay, Jamaica, has claimed the top spot.
During the pandemic, most of the world came to a standstill as a majority of national governments resorted to lockdowns and travel curbs in a bid to slow down the virus. Consequently, the tourism industry was hit the hardest, namely in overly conservative places like Canada, where arrival figures have hit historical lows.
Interestingly, some countries are recovering much faster than others, and we may have found something in common between them:
Montego Bay Leads The Summer Travel Recovery Ranking
According to the Outlook Report published by the World Travel Market (WTM), Jamaica’s Montego Bay is the top city in terms of post-Covid recovery. The study, conducted by ForwardKeys, a company specializing in travel data, noted that the hub has experienced a ‘positive growth’ of 23 per cent this summer, comprising the third yearly quarter, more than any other on the list.
This means Jamaica’s once-secondary destination, after the metropolitan Kingston, is now perhaps the most sought-after vacation spot in the world, out of the twenty cities that appeared on this specific ranking. The study’s conclusion should come as no surprise to some, seeing that, as soon as late 2021, Jamaica already outpaced other countries in arrival figures.
At the time, more specifically in November, demand for Jamaica stood at 38 per cent of 2019 levels – still far lower than the pre-pandemic years, but much higher than the global average of 24 per cent. When this data came out, the Caribbean country still required incoming tourists to present a negative test for entry.
As of April 14, however, all mandates barring the entry of tourists have been fully scrapped, including that of testing, suggesting this new growth may be attributed to the lack of health regulations. While the latest report does not provide a precise comparison, it does assert that Montego Bay is one of the ‘most resilient’ cities in the post-pandemic world, based on tourist numbers for summer 2022, and the pre-Covid 2019.
Why Is Montego Bay So Popular Among Tourists?
So now that Jamaica is open, and it has cemented its status as a freedom haven, why are so many travelers flocking into Montego Bay specifically, and not Kingston or Ocho Rios? Part of that may be attributed to a unique mix of busy city life and a picturesque seaside, making it a place where visitors can get the best of both worlds.
A majority of Montego Bay-bound vacationers are heading to all-inclusive resorts as well, and there are plenty of them to choose from, such as Sandals Montego Bay, Secrets St. James, and the phenomenal Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa. In sum, the city simply has one of the best developed hospitality sectors in all of the Caribbean.
The Top 5 Trendiest Destinations For 2022
What about the other top destinations for 2022, though? The 3 best performing cities are:
- Montego Bay, Jamaica with a 23% growth
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with 19%
- Cancun, Mexico with 14%
Other cities in the top 5 include Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and Dehli, the number one city in India. The one thing all of these destinations, no matter how far from each other, have in common? They have removed all, or most of their Covid curbs, including mandatory vaccination for travel, pre-departure testing and quarantine.
With the exception of India, the one country on this list that continues to enforce stricter entry rules for non-vaccinated tourists, the remaining four have already reinstated their 2019 normal entry guidelines. This is further indication that travelers are opting for destinations where they will not face bureaucratic hurdles upon landing.
Jamaica Travel Is Booming Again
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett sounded extremely pleased with the news, as he noted Jamaica is ‘bouncing forward’ following the ‘devastating impact’ of Covid. In the Minister’s words, Jamaica is one of the most ‘tourism dependent’ economies in the world, making the positive tourism trend very important for the island.
Airlines have been carefully watching Jamaica’s booming travel market, also: just last month, Frontier added its fifth flight to the country and flash flight deals keep popping up, despite the ongoing aviation crisis. Perhaps unfortunately for some, the trendy Montego Bay is bound to be jampacked, especially now that the U.S. dropped its own testing rule for returning Americans.
If you’re planning on visiting soon, you may want to secure those bookings in time before it sells out.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories