The Government’s revenue from tourism-related activities is being projected to take a massive hit in the upcoming fiscal year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
An analysis of the Revenue Estimates 2021-22 shows that the Government is expecting only $4.7 billion for the upcoming fiscal year – a drop in the bucket to the $22.5 billion projected in 2020-21.
Up to December 2020, the Government had only raked in $3.7 billion from tourism, the country’s second-largest earner of foreign exchange.
Further examination of the summary of the projected revenues shows that taxes from guest accommodation room tax are also expected to nosedive.
Only $645 million is expected to be collected by the Government. However, more than $3.11 billion was projected in the previous fiscal year.
Up to December, the Government had been struggling to reach that goal, with only $487 million being collected.
A 2021 Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association survey has shown that 47 per cent of the island’s accommodation inventory has remained closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotels closed their doors early in the local COVID-19 outbreak when the country’s borders were closed, but have not yet reopened since last June when commercial passenger flights into the island resumed.
Some 254,000 stopover arrivals were recorded in Jamaica last year, roughly a fifth of the usual yearly tally.
In January, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said that the industry had lost $76 billion because of the coronavirus pandemic.