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Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Dennis Morrison, has said that “good things are happening in tourism,” especially on the island’s ‘gold coast’ from Rose Hall to Runaway Bay, which has seen unprecedented levels of growth in hotels and other related infrastructure.
“As a result of what is happening in the investment side of the industry in this part of Jamaica, as well as the growth in visitor arrivals and the better occupancy levels of our resort areas, the employment situation is very strong,” he stated.
“Many, many more people are getting jobs these days in the industry. Over the last four years or so, the statistics show that the increase in the workforce in the industry has been in the region of 40,000 new jobs,” he added.
He noted that training in hospitality services has also increased with enrolment at the HEART Trust/NTA growing from 25, 000 in 2001/02 to more than 100, 000 this year.
Mr. Morrison, who was addressing a meeting of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry on (Aug. 14) in the second city, noted that tourism is the sector that has demonstrated how a positive working partnership between government and the industry can redound to the benefit of the country at large.
“We therefore chose to promote aggressively, investment as the driver, but to get investment in tourism it was recognized that you needed to create a platform of modern infrastructure, hence the investment in the (Sangster International Airport), the investment in water supply and sewerage and the investment in our highway network . we have laid the platform of modern infrastructure, which facilitates the investments seen in the tourist industry,” he pointed out.
“Because of all of this”, Mr. Morrison noted, “Jamaica is now regarded as an over-performing country in terms of the inflow of investments across the country.”
According to the JTB Chairman, the investment in the redevelopment of the Sangster International Airport by a foreign company, illustrates that the country can attract massive investments to modernize critical infrastructure, without putting a burden on taxpayers and on the budget.