Move over Mexico! Now there is another destination that is fast becoming the new favorite for weddings and travel among Indian Americans.
Jamaica, the third-largest Caribbean island with a significant English-speaking population and is also in close proximity to the United States, is emerging as a preferred wedding destination for Indian Americans as well.
Interestingly, part of the newfound interest in Jamaica among Indian Americans also stems from the post-Covid trend of seeking lesser-explored and relaxed travel destinations, instead of crowded tourist spots.
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Witnessing their relatives and cousins traveling all the way from India to Jamaica, many Indian Americans have developed a renewed interest in exploring this Caribbean gem. Post-Covid, the demographic of Indian American travelers has evolved, with a more youthful and adventurous approach, seeking longer distances, solo or close group travel, and quality time spent in each destination. With its multicultural appeal and aspects resembling Indian culture, the Caribbean nation offers diverse experiences that attract more Indian travelers.
Maya Verma, an Atlanta resident who has spent her life in the US South, shares her experience. “Last summer, my cousins in India planned a trip to Jamaica via Florida,” she said. “I was blown away by the pictures and wondered why we hadn’t explored something that is almost in our backyard.”
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Recognizing the rising interest among Indian-origin travelers, the Jamaican tourist board has intensified its efforts to attract this group. The Government of Jamaica is prioritizing the expansion of its tourist markets in Asia and is poised to attract the Indian market with new activities.
Jamaican Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, stated, “The Indian market initiatives are now fully on stream. We met with our partners and are beginning engagements later this year. There is a huge market for weddings, a confluence of cricket, a rapidly growing middle and upper middle class, improved flight connectivity over time, and a very active Indian community in Jamaica itself, all of which will drive growth from this increasingly lucrative market.” The surge of interest in Jamaica is reflected in the numbers as well. In 2022, Jamaica welcomed over 3.3 million visitor arrivals worldwide, marking a 117 percent increase over 2021.
Another fascinating aspect of Indian interest in Jamaica is the shared passion for cricket. With the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled to be hosted by the West Indies and the United States in June 2024, cricket enthusiasts among Indian travelers will be drawn to Jamaica.
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Recently, Bartlett welcomed Jamaican and West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle for a courtesy call at his office in New Kingston. During the visit, they explored the potential for sports tourism in Jamaica and the opportunities it presents.
Apart from the captivating culture and festivals, the Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay from July 16 to 22, also attracts a massive influx of overseas visitors during the summer months.