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Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Government is working to build the capacity of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) to increase earnings from the sector.

He noted that while 80 per cent of tourism worldwide is driven by SMTEs, “only 20 per cent of the returns from tourism go to this particular sector”.

“We want to build the capacity of all local people here to manage their own supply arrangement, to market it themselves, to market through Jamaican networks, so that more and more of the resources that will come from the sale of their products will remain in their pocket and in the economy of Jamaica,” Mr. Bartlett said.

He was speaking at the opening of the virtual staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ trade show at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (July 23).

Mr. Bartlett said the establishment of the Tourism Linkages Network is one of the means through which the Government has been investing in the capacity building of small and medium-sized enterprises, to bring about the required “re-balance” in the distribution of wealth.

“We are enabling our small providers to be more efficient in their production, to be able to produce more and to be able to produce at a higher quality so that they get a better response and [enhance] their capability to manage, better, their own process,” he said.

The linkages hub was created in 2013 to strengthen the relationship between tourism and other sectors of the economy and position the industry to generate higher growth rates in visitor arrivals and earnings.

The objective is to widen the net of people benefiting from tourism and create a sector that is more inclusive and offers increased opportunities for economic growth and development.

In the meantime, Mr. Bartlett informed that the Government is also improving local producers’ access to international markets, noting that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has established a “very powerful marketing and digital platform to create space for content of all types”.

“[This is] infrastructure that we are creating to provide opportunities for our local producers, small or large, to be able to have access to the markets of the world. We are excited about that, because that is how we are going to build the value chain, that’s how we are going to enable more and more of our people to be true beneficiaries of tourism,” he said.

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