Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has said that tourism earnings for this year could eclipse 2008 figures, despite the global economic recession.
Last year, the country earned approximately US$1.6 billion from tourism and Mr. Bartlett is predicting that revenue for this year could total US$2 billion.
“Our earnings were trending down earlier this year, largely due to the need to discount, given the worldwide economic downturn, but we have now caught up and we can expect by year-end that we might even show a small growth over last year in our earnings,” he stated.
Mr. Bartlett was speaking at the opening of a Tourism Awareness Week exhibition yesterday (December 7) at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library on Tom Redcam Avenue.
Visitor arrivals, he said, is also expected to increase, with the numbers already surpassing last year’s by four per cent, and is expected to reach five per cent by year-end.
St. Hugh’s High School students (L-R), Sashel Bennett, Tracy-Ann Manyan and Christ-Ann Dillon, view a section of the exhibit mounted at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library by the Ministry of Tourism as part of Tourism Awareness Week activities. The exhibition, which opened yesterday (December 7) is being staged under the theme: ‘Tourism: Providing Opportunities for all Jamaicans’.
Tourism Awareness Week is being observed from December 6 to 12, with this year’s activities focussed on the significance of tourism and why it should matter to all Jamaicans.
Mr. Bartlett told Tourism Action Club members from several schools in the Corporate Area, who attended the exhibition opening that they are the future of the industry and he proposed the introduction of tourism as a stand-alone subject at the secondary school level.
“We have to sensitise our young people at the earliest time possible about how an appreciation of tourism fits in with the civics studies that they are exposed to in school,” he said.
The theme of the exhibition is ‘Tourism: Providing Opportunities for all Jamaicans’ and features displays dealing with the various aspects of tourism and the related job opportunities. There is also an audiovisual presentation as part of the display.
The exhibition will remain at the library for one week before being moved to various libraries across Jamaica starting with the Portland Parish Library.