Jamaica’s Tourism Booms: Record High Arrivals, Long Queues at Airport

Aircraft approaches runway at Sangster International Airport – Via Photos Of Jamaica

Jamaica has seen a massive surge in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2023, with a nearly 100 percent increase in visitors to the island’s amazing beaches.

However, this influx of tourists has caused long queues and hours-long waits for arriving passengers at the island’s main airport, Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

The shortage of airport staff to process the unexpected volume of people flying into the airport since the end of the pandemic has been identified as the root cause of the problem, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Despite the current issues, Jamaica is anticipating further growth in its tourism sector.


The country aims to attract 5 million visitors annually by 2025, which would be a 35 percent increase from its peak of 3.7 million tourists in 2022.

To achieve this, the Jamaican government plans to spend more on technology, including the removal of paperwork at the airport and a $70 million modernisation and expansion project already underway.

The modernisation and expansion project includes the lengthening of the runway at Sangster International Airport, which is expected to be completed by June.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness emphasised the need for this project to be completed as soon as possible to make Jamaica more attractive and competitive with other countries in the region, which have also invested heavily in improving their infrastructure.

The expansion project will enable the airport to accommodate larger aircraft that would be used for long-haul flights, including those from new markets being targeted, such as Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

The airport processed 4.7 million passengers, including citizens and visitors, in 2019 before the pandemic, with 70% of the tourists using the Sangster gateway.

Sangster International Airport is managed by MBJ Airports Ltd., a consortium owned 74.5% by a subsidiary of the Mexican airports operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico and the rest by Vantage Airport Group of Canada.


The consortium has spent $287 million on airport improvements in the first 18 years of the 30-year concession that began in 2003.

Download The Jamaican Blogs™ App for your Android device: HERE

Remember to share this article on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms. To submit your own articles or to advertise with us please send us an EMAIL at: [email protected]

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments