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Switzerland to Jamaica flights start today

As Jamaica’s tourism sector continues to rebound, Montego Bay will this evening welcome the first of once weekly flights from one of the world’s richest countries, Switzerland.

The flights are operated by Edelweiss Air, a Swiss leisure airline owned by Swiss International Airlines and the Lufthansa Group, based in the country’s largest city, Zurich.

“This flight will be truly monumental for us. We began these discussions in 2018 when we met with stakeholders at the ITB Berlin trade show. So it is truly amazing to see this finally coming to fruition,” said Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.

In March 2018, the Observer first reported that Jamaica was closer to establishing flights between the two countries as part of Bartlett’s aggressive European tourism growth strategy, with the Germany-based ITB Berlin trade show being the base for discussions with airlines and tour companies.

ITB is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting more than 100,000 visitors and 10,000 exhibitors to trade stands, talks and workshops.

In 2018 Jamaica was prominently represented at ITB with Bartlett, Director of Tourism Donovan White; Senior Advisor and Strategist Delano Seiveright, and Europe-based Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) officials led by Gregory Shervington who is piloting the island’s European tourism growth strategy.

“Prior to the global shutdown of the travel industry in 2020, Swiss tourists were among the most travelled globally and Jamaica stood to benefit strongly from flights between both countries. We are grateful that we will now make coming to Jamaica a lot easier for them with seamless travel between one of their major cities and Montego Bay,” declared Bartlett.

He noted that these flights add to the success the local tourism industry has been experiencing and will help more small and medium tourism enterprises to see an increase in earnings as a result of more people visiting the island.

The island’s tourism industry is steadily rebounding from the negative impact of the COVID-19, with the return of a number of flights as well as the introduction of new flights to the island.

Bartlett credits the buoyancy in part to the strategic meetings his team has been having with key stakeholders across the globe to increase the rate of recovery projections made for the industry to return to normalcy.

He also credits this success to the Ministry of Tourism-led development of robust health and safety protocols and the establishment of the Tourism COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which have seen a near zero infection rate.

Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport yesterday welcomed Air Canada’s signature Dreamliner aircraft, with 296 passengers, in addition to Condor Airlines’ first flight since the global travel shutdown.

Condor’s return will see the resumption of twice weekly flights from Frankfurt, Germany to Montego Bay. This will once again connect Jamaica with one of the world’s leading financial hubs and one of Europe’s most important airports.

Condor’s 767 jets will have the capacity for 252 passengers per flight, resulting in 500 visitors per week from Germany, and the rest of Europe..

“When we first made our projections, we anticipated a U-shaped recovery. However, with the increase in arrivals and a number of flights, we are now looking at a V-shaped recovery path,” said Bartlett.

The tourism ministry is reforecasting to deliver 1.61 million visitors this year against an earlier estimate of 1.15 million, an improvement of 460,000 more visitors.

Source: https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/switzerland-to-jamaica-flights-start-today_225264?profile=1373

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