Faith-Based Tourism to Boost SMEs – Minister Bartlett


Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has pointed out that the faith-based tourism sector, which the island is in the process of developing, will provide the greatest opportunity for small and medium sized enterprises (SME), and properties.
“It is not only that they are coming for entertainment and fun but there are large group of volunteers who spend many weeks in doing charity work, building schools, refurbishing community centres, administering to the sick and to the weak. It is an area for bed and breakfast and for the small micro enterprises within the tourism sector,” he stated while speaking at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s job creation awards ceremony held today (May 27) at the Terra Nova Hotel.
Mr. Bartlett informed that faith-based tourism is a huge market of some US$400 billion in value within the United States and it brings together more than 2,700 conventions and meetings throughout the year.
In addition the Minister said in supporting various initiatives for growth, the Government was committed to a sustainable tourism and natural developmental objectives which keep in sharp focus environmental protection, broadening economic activity, and local empowerment.
Meanwhile Mr. Bartlett said that over the next five to ten years the tourism industry will need some 58,000 additional employees.
“The ability of tourism to generate employment is well established, the current challenge is to quickly and substantially enlarge the pool of highly skilled efficient and competent persons available to meet the demands of the new tourism for Jamaica and the new market place,” the Tourism Minister said.
He added that the Government will be moving to provide training for some 15,000 new hospitality students over the next five years. Mr. Bartlett also noted that a new school of hospitality will be built in Montego Bay by the end of 2009.
“This will provide an opportunity for the middle layer – the sous-chefs and beyond – in the industry. I am determined under my watch to have the tourism industry managed and run by Jamaicans for Jamaicans,” Mr. Bartlett said.

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