Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is inviting black Americans to invest in the country’s tourist sector.
He said that while African Americans have a lot of spending power, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the country’s tourist earnings, they should not only seek to vacation on the island, but to set up projects in areas of accommodation, entertainment, cultural heritage, and attractions.
Minister Bartlett, who was addressing the 14th annual International African American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit and Trade Show in Miami recently, also pointed to opportunities in providing related infrastructure such as airports, roads and telecommunications.
Real estate developer and Chief Executive Officer of Peebles Atlantic Development Corporation, Donahue Peebles (right) presents a copy of his book ‘Peebles Principles’ to Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (centre), while President of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), Andy Ingraham, shares the moment. Occasion was the 14th annual International African American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit and Trade Show held recently at the Doral Resort Hotel in Miami. The four-day event was organised by NABHOOD.
He cited faith-based tourism as a niche area, while there are mutual benefits to be drawn from synergies with industries such as agriculture, export, manufacturing, retail and others.
The Minister told the group that despite the global recession, which has negatively impacted many destinations worldwide, Jamaica’s tourism industry continues to grow, recording growth of 3.9 per cent last year.
He informed that the industry was a significant contributor to the national economy, accounting for approximately 27.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing some 280,000 persons, with 40 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings derived from the industry.
Minister Bartlett commended conference organisers, the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) and encouraged the group to continue to expand their vision and horizons in the area of entrepreneurship globally.
The four-day conference held from June 21 to 24 under the theme: ‘Creating New Opportunities’ targeted hotel owners, developers, and managers, among others, and explored opportunities in African American ownership, franchising, partnerships, marketing/branding, financing, investment and employment.
Nearly 100 university students pursuing studies in hospitality management across the United States and the Caribbean were invited to participate in networking and mentoring sessions. Among them was senior student in the University of Technology’s (UTech) Hospitality and Tourism Management programme, Peta-Gaye Bartley, who told JIS News that she was privileged for the opportunity to interact with other students, and owners and professionals in the tourism field.
She told JIS News that she intended to go into the policy-making aspect of the industry and the knowledge and experience gained from her participation in the four-day summit would assist her in contributing in this area.