JIS News

Some 1,200 students from local high schools, colleges and universities will take part in the ‘Spruce Up Jamaica’ Youth Summer Programme, an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism to enhance the overall visitor experience and provide employment for young persons.
The programme, which will be rolled out on July 21, will see students being placed in various tourism entities in the resort areas of Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril and the South Coast.
“They will be out there attired in their Spruce Up shirts and will work as courtesy corps volunteers, tour guides, in attractions, hotels, generally visible in the areas being kind, nice, and hospitable to our visitors,” the Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett told JIS News.
He noted that the purpose of the programme is to begin the process of getting the youth “to appreciate tourism, not only as a source of income, but as a source of their personal development.”
“We want in the process, to give them a feel of what the industry is about and to help them chart a career path and to make choices in favour of tourism,” the Minister added.
Another objective of the programme, Mr. Bartlett pointed out, is to allow the youth to create an atmosphere of hospitality and friendliness within the resort areas.
“Our young people are going to be out there welcoming our visitors to the island. When the visitors come off the cruise ship, we are going to be there to say hello, how are you, very nice to have you in Jamaica, enjoy yourself, have a wonderful time,” the Minister said.
Citing the advertising tagline, ‘once you go, you know’, Mr. Bartlett emphasised that the visitor experience is extremely critical as “it will determine whether they come back or if they will tell others to come.”
“This (the programme) we believe will add a great dimension to the product experience of the visitor,” the Minister reasoned, “so if nothing else, they can say they came to Jamaica and saw some wonderful young people who met them on their arrival and gave them a wonderful time.”
The initiative, he noted, “will help to soften the blow that we get from that perception that Jamaica is an unsafe destination.”