Jamaica News: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has welcomed the installation of 15 new state-of-the art immigration kiosks at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
The devices, which were provided through funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), are aimed at boosting efficiency and reducing wait time at immigration posts.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony on December 14, Minister Bartlett said that the new equipment, which adds to the 20 already at the airport, have been provided just in time for what is expected to be another bumper winter tourist season.
Jamaica is expected to welcome some 2.68 million stopover arrivals by year end, representing an eight per cent increase over last year.
“This is the start of the traditional high season, which we expect to be record-breaking. We have LATAM doing three flights per week from out of Lima, Peru, a massive South American market, and we also have American Airlines doing 15 direct flights every Saturday into Montego Bay,” he noted.
“These kiosks will ensure better facilitation and seamlessness for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected for this winter tourist season and beyond. We are now a bona fide smart destination and the most seamless in the region,” he added.
The Tourism Minister said that the new equipment is part of the process to develop “a smarter tourism experience and, particularly, smarter airport arrangements, to facilitate seamlessness in the visitor entry experience to our destination”.
“This use of technology to create smarter entry into the destination is also going to position Jamaica as the leading destination in the Caribbean, in so far as smart tourism is concerned.
“We are looking forward to not only this automated immigration facility but also the e-gates that are coming, the elimination of paper and providing more digital arrangements for immigration,” he said.
He noted that the final stage in the process is facial recognition, which he said, “will make Jamaica the most technologically savvy destination as it relates to point of entry”.