JIS News

In the past two months since I have had the pleasure of serving as YOUR Minister of Tourism, there are many valuable lessons that I have learned, even after having been close to the portfolio for so many years.
Perhaps the most significant one – and not one that is really new, but rather reinforced every day, is just how dependent we are on every single Jamaican to make tourism work.
Sure, we already know that tourism only works when there are seamless linkages right across the economy, but more than ever as the global marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, we see how small leakages can compromise Jamaica’s leading economic sector.
All it takes is one missing detail at the point of service delivery, or the delivery of sub-standard inputs like food or education and skills levels from outside of the core areas of the trade.
This is why I am happy to bring you greetings today as we join the rest of the world in observing Wednesday November 14 as World Responsible Tourism Day.
I know – I can almost hear you saying – not another ‘day’ to observe.and I can understand that feeling. However, in a real sense, this one is foundational to any other observance or celebration of the hospitality trade. You see – unless we treat with sober responsibility our natural endowments, maintain the built environment, and demonstrate respect for our people.tourism has no future.
What do we hope to achieve by this observance at this time?
Well, it is an initiative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) through its Travel Market, now on in London. The WTM is fact the single largest tourism event in the world.
For this World Responsible Tourism Day, the UNWTO has articulated four objectives, the key one of which speaks to how we can all support the effort to get travelers and business people to behave more responsibly or even simply to consider the consequences of their movement.
In this, the WTM invites all destinations to look at how they can support tourism and still sustain the environment. But – you might still ask. what exactly is responsible tourism? It is a way of consciously conducting the business so that travel considers the preservation of the environment and the well-being of others.
And whose responsibility is that? It is the business not only of governments (who admittedly should bear the lead responsibility), but also an approach that should be pursued by corporations, communities and consumers.
You can rest assured that I will jealously guard and protect YOUR interests as I lead the development of the tourism sector into the future. Here are some of the guiding principles that I have laid out to my team, in respect of all major development in the sector.
The negative impact on the environment, the society and the economy must be minimized in every possible way.
Must generate economic benefit to the local people, enhance the community and employ progressive and affirming working conditions. (In this regard we will also be looking out for the scourges of human trafficking and prostitution)
The involvement of local people in all decisions affecting their lives and livelihoods
Contribute positively to the conservation of the environment, heritage and culture
Significantly enrich the visitor experience, and by so doing add value to brand Jamaica. This includes real opportunities to connect with Jamaicans
Facilitate access for all persons with disabilities
Culturally sensitive, encouraging mutual respect and understanding between hosts and tourists.
I close by invoking a few lines from our Spruce-Up Jamaica jingle created by Lloyd Lovindeer to issue my personal invitation to you to join us protecting tourism to secure our collective future. .
Wi affi clean up the environment.di whole country at largeA we live yah .So a we have fi teck chargeSpruce up Jamaica remove eye soreEverybody feel better Everybody earn moreWhen tourist visit wi beautiful shoresWi feel real proud fi teck dem pon tourSpruce up Jamaica, the country wi live inEverybody benefits from tourism
A more beautiful Jamaica is our collective responsibility, and today, World Responsible Tourism Day is the best day to reflect on that fact.
I have taken the personal lead with the launch in Ocho Rios on November 2, and I will be back in the field soon – in your town – on your corner or your community centre. Join me nuh – come . Spruce Up Jamaica, and Nice Up Yuh-self!
One Love!