Jamaica is set to lift the travel ban on arrivals from the UK following the success of the vaccination programme in the UK.

It follows the country’s decision to ban UK arrivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic up to April 1. Jamaica will now have to wait to see if it receives the ‘green’ status under the UK government’s new traffic light system that will be used to restart international travel from 17 May at the earliest. A decision is due next month.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, said: “On May 1, Jamaica will reopen its borders to international visitors from the United Kingdom. This will enable the critical gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports to have transit for passengers coming through and who are fully compliant with health and safety protocols required for international travel.

“Jamaica’s position at this time is critical in relation to the opening up of the summer tourist season and, in fact, the importance of enabling the diaspora, particularly the strong British clientele that have always come to the island. The lifting of the ban is also against the background of the improved vaccination programme in the UK.”

The Caribbean island reopened its borders in June 2020 to international arrivals and has received around 1.5 million visitors since then who have gone through “robust” health and safety protocols.

Bartlett added: “The opening of the borders is important in the context of not just Jamaica’s tourism but Caribbean tourism, as so many of these countries benefit from transiting through Jamaica for British and European nationals.”