Several community-based projects within the tourist industry are to be implemented this year, as the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment seeks to finalise the Community Tourism Policy.
Making the disclosure during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, July 2, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the Ministry is moving to implement “practical and immediate programmes,” as the formal policy is being finalised.
“During this financial year, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), through the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) project has allocated funding valued at $350 million, which will be used to implement community-based programmes across the island,” he said.
The Minister noted that the call for these community-based projects has already been advertised in the print media, adding that the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo)will be available to assist the enterprises in the process of preparing their submissions.
“The reach of community tourism can extend far beyond the tourism industry, generating increased capacity within communities, stronger community governance, employment creation and poverty reduction,” he said.
Dr. McNeill further informed that under the initiative, a needs assessment study of the agricultural sector is to be conducted. In addition, funding is also to be identified for the development of a craft policy that will govern the craft industry.
“The craft industry is an important sub-sector and it needs to have its own policy framework and growth agenda,” the Minister said.
The community-based tourism policy seeks to implement strategies to assist enterprises that offer a community-based tourism product, to achieve further growth.
Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwards