Shopping and dining in Jamaica are less expensive for Americans as a result of a decision by the Jamaican government last fall to abolish the fixed rate of exchange for the Jamaican dollar. The currency is now traded publicly and subject to market fluctuations. One U.S. dollar, worth seven Jamaican dollars under the old system, recently has been worth 20 Jamaican. Tourists in Jamaica can pay for any goods in American dollars.
Tour companies say their prices have not gone down dramatically because hotel space was bought for the winter season months ago. However, many resort hotels are offering discounts because their operating costs have been cut, according to Marcella Martinez of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Sandals, which runs six all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, says couples booking six nights or longer are entitled to a discount of $305 in any room category at any time.
The Jamaican dollar is expected to stabilize by summer, according to Noel Mignott, deputy director of the Jamaica Tourist Board in New York.