Entrepreneurs Encouraged to Take Advantage of Tourism Opportunities

Photo: Claudia Gardner Government Senator, Don Wehby, makes his keynote address at the Tourism Service Excellence Awards ceremony held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on March 17.

Story Highlights

  • Government Senator, Don Wehby, has implored entrepreneurs to take advantage of the abundance of business opportunities resulting from the exponential growth of the tourism sector.
  • “The tourism sector is expanding. Any growth in the industry will see an increase in job creation and economic growth. This improves the climate for further investments. We need to continue on the path of establishing linkages to spread and share the benefits. I want to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to support the industry, because it would benefit commerce for all,” Mr. Wehby argued.
  • Senator Wehby, who is also Head of GraceKennedy Limited, said he feels strongly that the success of the Government’s stated objective of a five per cent in four years growth strategy will be heavily dependent on the success of the tourism industry.

Government Senator, Don Wehby, has implored entrepreneurs to take advantage of the abundance of business opportunities resulting from the exponential growth of the tourism sector.

Speaking at the Tourism Service Excellence Awards ceremony at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on March 17, Senator Wehby encouraged small businesses, in particular, to participate in the sector, as the Government has provided an enabling environment for these types of enterprises to flourish.

“The tourism sector is expanding. Any growth in the industry will see an increase in job creation and economic growth. This improves the climate for further investments. We need to continue on the path of establishing linkages to spread and share the benefits. I want to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to support the industry, because it would benefit commerce for all,” Mr. Wehby argued.

“I think the current business environment is really, really good for small businesses to enter into the tourism industry, and let me tell you why. The Tourism Enhancement Fund has committed a $1-billion loan facility to assist small and medium-sized businesses… . You must take advantage of that,” he added.

Senator Wehby, who is also Head of GraceKennedy Limited, said he feels strongly that the success of the Government’s stated objective of a five per cent in four years growth strategy will be heavily dependent on the success of the tourism industry.

He emphasised that any growth in the sector will impact other areas of national development, such as the creative, agricultural, construction, manufacturing, sports and entertainment industries.

“It is my opinion that tourism in Jamaica, despite all its successes, still has a wealth of untapped potential of future growth and game-changing results. We have to treat it as a precious gem, that is, we need to ‘care it’, protect it and cherish it, so that it can achieve its full potential,” Senator Wehby said.

“That is why I support initiatives that foster partnerships that provide access to local products, build capacity and support the development of supply chains,” he added.

Mr. Wehby said Jamaica should continue to value its assets, reward and protect its employees, and preserve its natural resources, “not just for the sake of tourism, but for our health, well-being, and enjoyment of the generations to come”.

He also encouraged Jamaicans to forego overseas holiday travel and instead spend their vacations in the island’s various resort areas.

“As a businessman, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel a lot throughout the world… and I can truly say to you that my experience with what is now called “Staycation” (staying at a Jamaican hotel) is one of the best experiences in the world bar none,” Mr. Wehby said.

“I would encourage all of us to have more staycations. We must enjoy the beauty of our country. Brand Jamaica is a gem and envy of the world. We have a lot to celebrate. Trip Advisor ranked Jamaica as the 12th best destination in the world in 2017 and one of the top-three islands. I think that we can be number one,” he added.

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