Jamaica welcomes millions of tourists each year to its shores. In 2017, the island welcomed over 4.2 million visitors of which some 2.3 million were “stop over” visitors, so designated because they spent a minimum of 24 hours in the country and over 1.9 million were cruise ship passengers. Of particular significance is the number of repeat visitors that make Jamaica a regular holiday destination.
Jamaica is ranked among the world’s most favoured destinations. At the 2018 World Travel Awards, the country was voted the Leading Caribbean Destination and the Leading Caribbean Cruise Destination.
Jamaica is much more than sun, sand and sea offering a wide array of attractions and accommodation choices that meet the need of just about every kind of visitor. If you want to be off the beaten path, that’s there; if you want to take to the hills and forests, that’s there; if you want to laze by the beach, that’s there; even if you want to climb waterfalls and dive off cliffs, we have that too!
Sports play a big part in Jamaican life. Athletics, football and cricket are very popular, with world class facilities hosting a number of superb performances annually. Jamaica boasts numerous championship golf courses, more than any other Caribbean destination. But don’t be carried away by the beautiful surroundings, these courses, designed by some of the world’s top designers, are known to be quite challenging.
Jamaica’s special tourism product is further enhanced by two unique elements – its people and its culture. Jamaicans are one of the friendliest and warmest people around, who love life and love to have fun. At the same time, Jamaicans are quite industrious and in the midst of both good and bad times have a creativity that brings out the best. Our ‘take it easy’ attitude is world renown in the popular catch phrase – “Jamaica, No Problem”.
We are an expressive people and our culture has found expression through music, dance, food and art, among other things. Reggae music, birthed in the back yards of Jamaica, has reached the world with its message of justice, unity, peace and the brotherhood of mankind. Reggae music has given birth to various genres of music including hip-hop, garage, reggaeton and the increasingly popular dancehall. Reggae has also been an influence on Kwaito music emanating from the townships of South Africa.
Over the years, Jamaica has hosted a number of major international cultural showcases including the Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival, the Calabash International Literary Festival, the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, Reggae Sunsplash and Reggae Sumfest. International superstars not only visit to perform but also to relax and enjoy the beauty of Jamaica.
Jamaican food, well-seasoned and often spicy, is enough to leave the tastebuds always longing for more. The popular jerk is a blend of seasonings that is fused into the flavour of the meat over a pit of burning pimento sticks. Every kind of Jamaican dish from the traditional to the contemporary is created to tantalise. Other popular dishes include the national dish – ackee and saltfish (salted codfish), rice and peas, escoveitch fish, roast breadfruit, and the beachside favourite – fried fish and festival.
When mixed with the wonderful people, the vibrant culture and the magnificent beauty of the country, it is no wonder Jamaica ranks high as a worldwide multi-award winning tourist destination.