Jamaica Top Airport Faces Challenges With Massive Influx of Tourists

Staffing shortages and a massive influx of international travelers have resulted in long lines and even longer waits for passengers at Jamaica's largest airport.

According to The Associated Press, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said 1.18 million people arrived at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay between January and March, marking a 94 percent increase compared to the same period of 2022.
The total reported by Bartlett is also a record high for Jamaica's tourism high season.

The massive jump in tourism numbers resulted in “long queues and hours-long waits,” and Bartlett revealed officials are trying to up the process with better technology and ending the need to fill out paperwork upon arrival.

“The recovery has been stronger than anticipated and everybody all over the world is having difficulty with their airports because … (many) of the workers have not come back,” Bartlett told The AP.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Sangster International is currently undergoing a $70 million modernization and expansion project scheduled to be completed by 2025, a move that he said would “make Jamaica more competitive with other countries in the region.”

The airport upgrade project is part of the Tourism Ministry's plan to grow tourism to over five million visitors annually by 2025, a 35 percent increase from the 3.7 million travelers who arrived in 2022.

As part of the upgrades, Sangster International's runway is being lengthened, the immigration hall and departure lounge will be expanded and at least 60 new self-service kiosks will be installed.

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