Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is assuring that the money spent on activities to capitalize on the London Olympics and promote brand Jamaica will translate in investment opportunities in various sectors.
He was speaking at a post-Olympics press conference on August 20 at Jamaica House, which was also addressed by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke; and Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton.
The Government of Jamaica spent approximately £1 million on promotional activities in London during the recent Olympics.
A major thrust of the promotion was the establishment of a Jamaica House at the O2 Arena in London, which promoted the country and its various products, thereby capitalising on the Olympics and the sensational performance of the Jamaican athletes.
Dr. McNeill described the Jamaica House experience as a huge success and noted that it was the prototype of what Jamaica will use in the future on such occasions.
He said of the total budget, £500,000 went to the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); £100,000 to Jamaica Promotion Corporation (JAMPRO) and £250,000 to the Ministry of Youth and Culture. The Tourism Minister said £150,000 of the amount came from sponsorship.
In addition to the business prospects in areas such as manufacturing, tourism, information technology, and agriculture, Dr. McNeill said some elements of the Jamaica House activities were revenue generating, with some £100,000 ($14 million) in retail sales.
Minister Hylton, for his part, defended the money spent and the delegation to the event, which included the three Ministers.
He said the Ministers were able to present a total picture of the opportunities in Jamaica and were there to answer a range of questions for potential investors. “We connected well. I think where one minister might not be able to answer all of the questions, I think that, that joined-up approach gave a much broader context for an appreciation of the opportunities for doing business in Jamaica,” he told journalists.
Information Minister, Hon. Sandrea Falconer, who moderated the press conference, also emphasized the need for the Ministers’ participation.
“I think it would have been remiss of the Ministers and irresponsible, if they were not there as policy makers, to answer the questions of the persons we were inviting to come through Jamaica House, and who we want to do business with in Jamaica, whether it be through tourism, through agriculture, or to invest in Jamaica.
“To me, I think sometimes we quibble over the smallest things and we speak about a few dollars when if, in fact, our policy makers didn’t go, we could have lost out on bigger opportunities. We need to put these things in context and stop quibbling over simple things,” the Information Minister said.