Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, has expressed concern about the lack of recognition of Tourism within the education system.
“One of the things that worries me most, is the extent to which, for example, at the Tertiary level in this country, Tourism is being looked at in a negative light, and a lack of understanding of the revenue contribution of Tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is causing all sorts of distorted notions to be passed around,” he stated.
Mr. Bartlett made the comments on Wednesday (November 23), at the closing ceremony for a Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) training seminar in the areas of “Protocol and Professional Etiquette”, at the Secrets Resort in Montego Bay. Approximately 27 individuals from organizations within Montego Bay received certification for completing the seminar.
The Tourism Minister blamed the lack of recognition on ignorance of its real contribution to the nation, adding that even while there are key and important considerations of tax reform taking place, there is evidence that some persons are prepared to position the industry in a way as if to say that it is of no real value to the country.
He said that the absence of empirical data to indicate the true contribution of the industry to the economy is also a cause for concern. He noted that his ministry has commissioned an impact study to determine the level.
“We are determined that, even in an unfinished state, that data is going to be made available to those who are thinking through this whole process, to ensure that the industry, which is the lifeline of Jamaica, is not destroyed in a process to create fiscal equity across the board,” he stated.
He noted that there are some 185 countries that have now embraced tourism as the centrepiece of their economic recovery programme, including some advanced economies.
He went on to describe tourism as more than an industry, but a catalyst that speeds up or slows down economic activity in a whole range of other industries and sectors.
By Bryan Miller