The Caribbean island of Jamaica has been downgraded from level three to level two on the United States Centres for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) travel recommendations ranking system.
The decision comes in recognition of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
This new classification places the destination in a risk category lower than that of more than 70 per cent of countries worldwide.
Jamaica minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has expressed his satisfaction at this new classification.
He noted that it will undoubtedly positively affect the number of visitors travelling to the island from the United States during the winter tourist season.
“We are extremely proud that the CDC has once again lowered its Covid-19 travel recommendations ranking to a level two ranking, indicating that Covid-19 contraction level is moderate.
“In recent months Jamaica has been classified at level three and level four, as many Caribbean islands and other countries are unfortunately still ranked today,” said Bartlett.
“It is undoubtedly a show of confidence in the destination and the strict health and safety policies we have in place, particularly within the tourism resilience corridors.”
He added: “I commend our health authorities and the Jamaican people for their efforts to reduce Covid-19 infection and hospitalization rates, which bodes well for our risk assessment rankings.”
Under the CDC update, US citizens should be fully vaccinated before traveling to destinations which have the level two designation.
The CDC suggests that unvaccinated travellers who are at an increased risk of developing severe illnesses from Covid-19 should avoid unnecessary travel to these locations.
A level three country, however, has a high Covid-19 prevalence, and travellers must ensure that they are fully vaccinated prior to travel.
Unvaccinated travellers should abstain from unnecessary travel to these locations.
“We encourage visitors to continue to keep Jamaica in mind when making their vacation plans and to take comfort in the fact that their visit will be safe.
“With relatively high vaccination rates and extremely low infection rates, the island continues to be a very safe place for visitors and workers alike,” said Bartlett.
Jamaica is on track to receive over 1.5 million visitors by the end of 2021.
With a strong start to the winter tourist season, tourism officials also anticipate that the country will reach pre-pandemic levels of arrivals by the third quarter of 2023.
The latest development caps a successful month for the Jamaica tourism industry, with the World Travel Awards having honoured the destination with a number of top titles.
At the same time, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), founded by minister Bartlett, was recognised with the unique trophy for World’s Leading Tourism Initiative.