Unmasking Tourism Potential Key to Region’s Sustainable Growth – Bartlette

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says unmasking the full economic potential of tourism remains at the heart of the region’s quest for sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • Minister Bartlett said research has shown that for many developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) tourism has become the most viable and sustainable option for economic growth, and in some countries the main source of foreign exchange earnings.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says unmasking the full economic potential of tourism remains at the heart of the region’s quest for sustainable and inclusive growth.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Mr. Bartlett noted that authorities in the region have been aggressively seeking to leverage tourism as a source of local economic development (LED).

He argued that if achieved, “this would result in sustainable economic livelihoods, social capital, poverty alleviation, peace and unity, community renewal and environmental sustainability in pursuit of the internationally benchmarked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

Minister Bartlett said research has shown that for many developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) tourism has become the most viable and sustainable option for economic growth, and in some countries the main source of foreign exchange earnings.

“In 2014, LDCs received US$16.4 billion in exports from international tourism, up from US$2.6 billion in 2000, making the sector an important pillar of their economies (at seven per cent of total exports) and helping some to graduate from the LDC status,” he pointed out.

He noted, further, that tourism is labour-intensive and supports a diverse and versatile job market.

In Jamaica, the sector directly employs more than 106,000 persons, while generating indirect jobs for another 250,000 in linked sectors such as agriculture, the creative and cultural industries, entertainment, manufacturing, transportation, finance and insurance, electricity and water, construction and other services.

Minister Bartlett noted that tourism has been the leading driver of economic growth and prosperity in the country for several decades, and the trend is poised to continue.

“The tourism sector in Jamaica has expanded by 36 per cent over the last 10 years when compared with total economy growth of six per cent,” he pointed out.

The Minister said that the direct contribution of tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at 8.4 per cent, while total contribution is estimated at 27.2 per cent of GDP.

“Tourism is also the single most important generator of foreign exchange for the Jamaican economy,” he added.

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