Tourism Pillars will Create Opportunities – Minister

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, highlights the importance of the tourism pillars at a recent ministerial briefing for diplomats at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the implementation of the five pillars of tourism growth and networks will further diversify the country’s tourism offerings, create business opportunities and increase the use of local goods and services within the sector.
  • “We have put together a strategy for growth that calls for five pillars which relate to new products, new markets, new investments, new partnerships and a renewal of our human capital, and we have underpinned this with the five networks to further enhance the tourism product,” the Minister said.
  • The Minister argued that Jamaica is well positioned to attract more visitors through gastronomy as “it has probably the most ideal mix of ethnicity and culture, which is reflected in our food and so the palate of the world can be satisfied here as almost every nation is represented here and a little piece of their gastronomy is infused in the Jamaican product.”

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the implementation of the five pillars of tourism growth and networks will further diversify the country’s tourism offerings, create business opportunities and increase the use of local goods and services within the sector.

“We have put together a strategy for growth that calls for five pillars which relate to new products, new markets, new investments, new partnerships and a renewal of our human capital, and we have underpinned this with the five networks to further enhance the tourism product,” the Minister said.

He was speaking recently at a Diplomatic Week ministerial briefing, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.

The Minister informed the diplomats that the five new networks – Gastronomy, Sports and Entertainment, Health and Wellness, Shopping, and the Knowledge economy – which were officially launched in December 2016 as part of the Tourism Linkages Network initiative will help to better position the sector to generate higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings.

These networks, he added, will focus on strengthening the linkage with the manufacturing and agricultural sectors as well as the creative industries.

“It is about using food as a greater attraction; focusing on our spas to increase our figures; positioning Jamaica to become the knowledge Mecca of the Caribbean and having more people come in to shop and attend our sports and general events,” Mr. Bartlett explained.

He pointed out that the sector intends to establish Devon House, in Kingston, as the centre of gastronomy for Jamaica.

“So, we want investments in more restaurants…we want investments in our specialty areas, such as coffee, and we want to build out Buff Bay, in Portland, as the coffee centre for Jamaica, with a coffee trail from Buff Bay up into Blue Mountain. It is about the creation of a whole series of cottage industries which will flow from this and a whole range of spin-offs that will generate income,” he said.

The Minister argued that Jamaica is well positioned to attract more visitors through gastronomy as “it has probably the most ideal mix of ethnicity and culture, which is reflected in our food and so the palate of the world can be satisfied here as almost every nation is represented here and a little piece of their gastronomy is infused in the Jamaican product.”

In terms of shopping, the Minister noted that the plan is to encourage investments for big shopping malls that can attract and maintain the attention of visitors.

“Jamaica has never developed shopping in a very serious way, and this is the second most desired element of a visitor experience across the globe…people travel to some countries only for shopping, so we need investment in shopping and we are going to be changing fiscal arrangements to allow for a broadening of the schedule relating to shopping items,” he informed.

For sports and entertainment, he noted that discussions are being held with local and international promoters on ways to build out the entertainment and sport product.

“It is about building out the experience and introducing the world to Usain Bolt and Bob Marley and inviting the world to come in to enjoy constant sport of one sort or another and music, particularly reggae,” he said.

As it relates to health and wellness, the Minister said that with some 900 species of plants in the Cockpit Country alone, which is a biodiversity unmatched in the English-speaking Caribbean, this presents a great opportunity for the production of nutraceuticals and oils and the creation of spas and spa-related experiences.

“In terms of the knowledge network, we are establishing ourselves as a meeting place for the thinkers of the world and Jamaica could very well become the centre for think tanks in the Caribbean,” Mr. Bartlett said.

The Minister said if the country intends to attract five million visitors by 2021, generate $5 billion in tourism earnings, increase the total direct jobs to 125,000 and add 15,000 new hotel rooms, then “we must put in place the framework to foster the growth of this sector.”

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