Ministry to Explore Areas of Assistance for Tourism Workers


The Ministry of Industry and Tourism will be meeting with the private sector, other ministries and agencies, and labour organizations, to explore areas of social and infrastructural improvement and assistance to persons who are employed in hotels, attractions and other tourism enterprises.
In her budget presentation in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (April 21), Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba pointed out that every survey that had been done on the reasons why people visited Jamaica, had found that the number one attraction was the warmth of the people and the hospitality of tourism workers.
“Our people are central to the product and therefore the industry won’t be sustainable unless we address the social needs of tourism workers. I want to see our progress in tourism being reflected in the quality of life of our tourism workers who are the main reason for the success of Jamaica’s hospitality industry,” she emphasized.
In the area of housing, Mrs. Assamba said the National Housing Trust could be instrumental in developing a programme similar to those in place for sugar and bauxite workers. She said this would be a priority area for the Ministry as housing solutions for the tourism workforce was a practical way of recognizing their importance to the economy. This would also help to solve the problems of squatting and unplanned development in resort environments, she observed.
With regard to pension, the Minister said the industry had long operated on the basis of a significant portion of the worker’s remuneration being manifested in tips, which were not taxed, and that while this was appreciated by workers as perks, there was a long term disadvantage, in that these earnings rarely went toward assisting in the provision of adequate pension for their retirement.
Mrs. Assamba told the House that the Ministry intended to consult with the trade unions, employers and the relevant government agencies to explore the possibility of establishing a pension scheme for tourism workers. “It is not that we want to deny tourism workers of their tax-free incentives, but it must be recognized that if provisions are not made for their retirement, then they could face serious problems later on in life,” she argued.

JIS Social