Tourism Workers Pension Scheme by September 2017

Photo: Marlon Tingling Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (3rd right), presents a bouquet of flowers to Celeene Rodriquez (2nd right), who along with her husband, Wayne Rodriquez (right), were recognised as the first visitors to arrive at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay for the start of the 2016/17 winter tourist season. Also on hand to greet the couple (from left) are Howard Deers, JP, representing the Office of the Custos of St. James; Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook; and Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis. The Minister attended a breakfast meeting at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Wednesday (December 14), to launch the winter season.

Story Highlights

  • “Cabinet has approved the permission for us to go to the Parliament and to enact the legislation that will bring into being the pension plan for the workers of the tourism industry. The Cabinet has also given us approval to have an amendment to the Tourism Enhancement Fund Act to enable it to provide the seeding money for the fund.”
  • Minister Bartlett informed that the pension scheme will benefit hotel workers, red cap porters, ground-transportation operators, craft traders, attraction workers, port workers, among others, and will attract the same kind of fiscal arrangements as other established pension funds in the country.
  • In addition, 3,500 new rooms will be coming on stream during the season, creating 7,000 new jobs in the hotel sector.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says a pension scheme for the country’s tourism workers will become a reality by September next year.

He said the Cabinet has given approval for the establishment of the scheme, which will be funded through $1 billion from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). This, he said, will ensure that the pension scheme is tax-free.

“Cabinet has approved the permission for us to go to the Parliament and to enact the legislation that will bring into being the pension plan for the workers of the tourism industry. The Cabinet has also given us approval to have an amendment to the Tourism Enhancement Fund Act to enable it to provide the seeding money for the fund,” he informed.

Minister Bartlett was addressing airport workers at a breakfast event to launch the 2016/17 winter tourist season at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, on Wednesday (December 14).

He informed that the pension scheme will benefit hotel workers, red cap porters, ground-transportation operators, craft traders, attraction workers, port workers, among others, and will attract the same kind of fiscal arrangements as other established pension funds in the country.

The plan, he said, will become a game changer for the tourism sector, as workers will now be able to retire in dignity after giving dedicated service to the industry.

Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett noted that Jamaica’s tourism sector recorded growth in visitor arrivals in all of the fall months, even with the threat from Hurricane Matthew in October.

“I must tell you that we have been showing growth in every month of the so-called fall months. September we had growth. Even when Matthew robbed us of 8,000

visitors in the first week of October, we still ended with a small growth. November had growth, and December. We are growing at the moment at 10 per cent,” he informed.

He also indicated that for this winter season more than 4,000 new air seats have been secured from North America, new flights will be coming in from Europe, while the ‘home porting’ of ships will be increased.

In addition, 3,500 new rooms will be coming on stream during the season, creating 7,000 new jobs in the hotel sector.

“This is the last year we are going to be celebrating the start of the winter tourist season. We are finished with ‘winter season’, because every season is one season and Jamaica is one strong tourism destination,” he said.

Minister Bartlett also used the opportunity to welcome the first two visitors to arrive at Sangster International Airport for the winter season, Celeene and Wayne Rodriquez, who came in on a Jet Blue flight from New York.

JIS Social