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Fresh from taking his oath of office at King’s House this morning, new Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett got off to a flying start. He met his support team at the Ministry’s New Kingston head office this afternoon.
In the brief, relaxed meeting, the Minister greeted each member of staff one by one, but not before eschewing any hint of partisanship in the conduct of public business. “I might look green, but trust me – I don’t behave green.or orange for that matter. No colour coding will be required here”, he quipped.
In his presentation, Mr. Bartlett reminded the team that his principal competency was marketing, having served as Marketing Sales Manager at Texaco Caribbean for nine years before entering representational politics and that he would approach his portfolio with like fervour. “I would like to think of myself as the chief salesman here, but for tourism to perform and grow simply beyond visitor arrivals, we will all have to be salespersons and market.market market”, the Minister emphasized. “The three planks of my tenure will be Marketing, Product Development and Investment – through local partnerships and meaningful, sustainable international inflows.”
In respect of his expectations, Minister Bartlett reiterated the importance of Tourism to the Jamaican economy and said, “Efficiency, Professionalism, and Performance” is how “we will all get along like a house on fire. My eyes are firmly set on the upcoming winter season, where we have to buckle down and ensure that we enjoy growth well beyond an increase in arrival figures.”
Giving specific examples of the potential multiplier effect of tourism , the new Minister also reinforced the fact that many other critical sectors such as Agriculture are relying upon sustained growth in what he termed the ‘main economic driver’ of the economy.
“Tourism is the only sector in which we can truly say Jamaica enjoys both a competitive and comparative advantage in the global marketplace. This is why we have to grow Tourism – the bottom-line is to ensure that the benefits of the sector flow through the economy, creating the critical mass to support the more than 23 satellite industries that rely upon it for their survival. With your support, we can run with it and make good on this potential”, Mr. Bartlett concluded.
The Minister was then accompanied on a tour of the Jamaica Tourism Centre by Permanent Secretary Jennifer Griffith and Director General Carrole Guntley. This included stops at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to meet with the Executive Directors and their respective teams.