Carnival in Jamaica draws thousands of revellers and boosts tourism industry

 Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (centre), on the road

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Carnival has become a major tourism driver for the country, with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) capitalizing on the event to attract even more visitors to the destination. As part of the island’s Sports and Entertainment marketing pillars, the event has seen an uptick in overseas participants, with week-long fetes culminating in a final road parade.

More than 26,000 visitors arrived in Kingston from April 1 to 20, coinciding with major Carnival activities. According to the Carnival in Jamaica Committee, more than 8,000 revelers and 50,000 spectators participated in this year’s event.

“Carnival in Jamaica has become a melting pot of international and regional participants who want to experience the energy of Kingston through music, food, and friends. It has become the ideal platform to reinforce Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean, and we want to maximize that in terms of arrivals and spending from our visitors on the island,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism.

Revellers at the Carnival in Jamaica Road March Parade

Despite being just shy of pre-pandemic numbers, the event has had a positive impact on the country’s economy. “These numbers are very positive for the growth of the event and economic benefits,” White remarked. “It also speaks to the unifying element that music can achieve with both revellers and spectators moving about seamlessly and incident-free. Carnival 2024 is expected to be even bigger, and the JTB plans to capitalize on the marketing opportunities.”

Carnival in Jamaica returned in 2023 after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with events in both Kingston and Ocho Rios. The main Road March took place in Kingston on Sunday, April 16, featuring a sea of high-energy bands and spectators clad in brightly colored costumes.

The event has become a cultural celebration that brings together international and regional participants, highlighting Jamaica’s vibrant music, food, and culture. As the tourism industry continues to recover from the pandemic, Carnival in Jamaica remains a significant driver of economic growth and a must-see destination for travelers around the world.