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Vice Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Professor Rex Nettleford, has said that Jamaicans should be encouraged to vacation at local hotels, as part of efforts to minimise the effects of the global financial downturn on the tourism sector.
“Treat our fellow citizen’s right and let them feel that they have a right to tenant the piece of real estate in their own country, however temporary,” Professor Nettleford said as he addressed the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) staff recognition awards ceremony held yesterday (Dec. 8), at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
“If we can smile for the tourist, we can also smile with ourselves. It is always better to do things for ourselves, then allow our visitors to come in and enjoy our natural kindness, mutual respect and the like with us,” he added.
According to Professor Nettleford, the global financial crisis is “bound to cause a decline in significant markets, especially from the United States” and “being dependent on the industry for jobs and foreign exchange, we shall have to apply ingenuity”.
The success of these efforts, he said, will depend to a great extent on “our workers in the industry at all levels from Tourism Director, through sous chef to chamber maid.”
“I know I can count on all of us to bring to the industry in these difficult times, resilience, dedication, sustained application and loyalty for the benefit of this land that we have to love.”
Meanwhile, 47 persons, who have served between 10 and 40 years, were recognised for their dedicated service to the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
Director of Tourism, John Lynch, expressed sincere appreciation to the awardees for their contribution to the JTB.
“I have no doubt that our awardees have helped to establish a legacy of efficiency and it is an important ingredient for further development,” Mr. Lynch stated.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, also lauded the awardees for their contribution to the industry.
“It is very significant that we are honouring these 47 labourers in the vineyard of tourism, he said, noting that “the JTB has always been able to maintain a cadre of workers who are committed, loyal, dedicated and who have given service over an extended period that has caught the attention of the world.”