Tourism Back On Growth Path -Bartlett


Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the country’s tourism sector is back on the path of growth in record time, following the downturn caused by the unrest in Western Kingston during May.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Bartlett said that following declines in arrivals during May and June, the figures for July and August showed that they were both record months. He added that the figure for the first five days in September is positive, showing a 10 per cent increase.
“I am proud of the work that the industry partners and my team in the Ministry, including the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), have done to cauterise this fallout and put us back on a growth path in record time,” the Minister said.
He said it was truly amazing the rate at which country had “bounced back” from what was seen by many as a global “block out” for Jamaica.
“When our public relations and marketing team came back to us indicating how the market was responding to the incidents in Jamaica, we really thought it was not going to be possible for us to come back in nine months. We projected, in fact, that we would have lost some 10 per cent of our business for the year, which would have brought us into a negative position for the end of the year,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett said the indications now are that growth will only be one and a half to two per cent down from the six per cent growth that was projected at the start of the year.
The projection for earnings, he said, has also been revised as well, with the sector expected to lose US$150 million less than the US$350 million that was anticipated.
Mr. Bartlett said because the Ministry moved quickly and the Government provided additional budget support, Jamaica was able to satisfy the marketplace that the destination was safe.
“We were able to move with alacrity in the market and to pull back much of the lost space that we had. More importantly, we were able to satisfy our partners that Jamaica was on a game changing path and that what we were doing was going to make the destination a safer and better place,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that the recovery programme is ongoing, and noted that the industry is also entering a period when there will be some level of adjustments, as the sector prepares for the winter season.

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