Tourism Continues to be Main Catalyst for Economic Growth

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the tourism sector continues to be a main catalyst for economic growth and sustainable development among developing countries.
  • Mr. Bartlett noted that an estimated 46 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled internationally last year, compared to 2015, contributing directly to gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.1 per cent and supporting six million net additional jobs in the sector.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the tourism sector continues to be a main catalyst for economic growth and sustainable development among developing countries.

In an interview with JIS News, the Minister noted that not only is tourism increasingly being seen as a game changer, but it is the one industry worldwide that has consistently demonstrated a high level of profitability and dependability.

“This is evidenced by the emerging interest of Wall Street in this space. Also, we only have to take a look at the World Bank’s participation in a number of tourism activities, and the new ethos of several companies – Waterhouse HP, IBM and Google – as it relates to the provision of tourism-enhancing goods and services,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett noted that an estimated 46 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled internationally last year, compared to 2015, contributing directly to gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.1 per cent and supporting six million net additional jobs in the sector.

“In total, Travel and Tourism generated US$7.6 trillion (10.2 per cent of global GDP) and 292 million jobs in 2016, equivalent to 1 in 10 jobs in the global economy. The sector accounted for 6.6 per cent of total global exports and almost 30 per cent of total global service exports,” he informed.

Mr. Bartlett said that according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 2016 was the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth in the tourism sector, following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis.

He further added that the tourism industry represents the most important form of economic activity in the Caribbean, with earnings in excess of US$27 billion in 2016.

“The Caribbean witnessed an unprecedented growth of 4.2 per cent in tourist arrivals to the region in 2016. The region welcomed a historic 29 million visitors in 2016, over 1 million more than in 2015. Tourism growth in the region outpaced the global average of 3.9 per cent,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out.

He noted that tourism is the single largest generator of foreign exchange in 16 of the 28 countries in the Caribbean, and also the sector receiving the most by way of foreign direct investment.

“The region has a higher proportion of total employment and percentage of GDP derived from tourism than any other region in the world. It is estimated that one in every four persons is employed by tourism-related activities, and the sector accounts for 41 per cent of all exports and services in the Caribbean and 31 per cent of all gross domestic product,” he added.

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